Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is an evidence-supported form of therapy developed by Dr. Sue Johnson. It is based on attachment theory, which has shown that humans actually need secure bonds with others to be happy and healthy. EFT then focuses on how people can create or strengthen the conditions needed for secure connections with others.
In EFT, emotions – even painful ones – are not the enemy; they are the way we learn more about ourselves (our needs, beliefs, and fears) so we can connect better with others. Outcome studies support EFT as highly effective and the benefits tend to last longer than other forms of counseling that focus on surface-level cognitive and behavioral changes.
EFT with Couples
With EFT, the focus is not on the content of a couple’s struggles but on the process – how the couple deals with issues. Couples who successfully navigate the stages of EFT will be better equipped to handle issues that come up after therapy has ended because they’ll have learned a better process for partnering with one another and handling adversity.
The primary goals of EFT are to help the couple (a) understand their negative cycles and how these lead to distance or insecurity in their relationship, (b) become aware of how their emotions (especially fear) trigger and get triggered by these negative cycles, and (c) create new positive cycles that help the couple feel more securely bonded with one another.
EFT with Individuals
EFT is all about achieving emotional safety and stability through secure bonds with the important people in our lives. But for a variety of reasons, many of us get stuck relating to ourselves and our own emotions in a way that prevents us from seeking out and creating those safe-haven relationships.
In individual EFT, we pave the way for long-lasting emotional health by creating the conditions for self-awareness and acceptance as well as healthy bonds with others. We’ll explore the patterns in how you relate to yourself (your needs, emotions, fears, and beliefs), how you relate to others, and how changing some of these patterns may increase your emotional well-being and your ability to seek and give support in relationships.