What is EFT Therapy and How Can It Help?

Posted by Tim Tarks on May 24th, 2023

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a highly effective and evidence-based approach to couples therapy that focuses on improving emotional connection and bonding between partners. Developed by Dr. Sue Johnson in the 1980s, EFT has since gained widespread recognition for its ability to help couples overcome relationship distress and create lasting, fulfilling connections.

At its core, EFT is based on the belief that emotional safety and secure attachment are essential for healthy and satisfying relationships. It draws upon attachment theory, which suggests that humans have an innate need for secure emotional bonds with significant others. EFT aims to help couples understand and reshape their emotional responses, break negative interaction patterns, and create new patterns of interaction that foster a sense of safety, trust, and intimacy.

The therapy process begins by helping couples identify and understand their negative interaction cycles, also known as "demonstrated patterns." These patterns often involve a cycle of pursuing and distancing behaviors, where one partner may seek closeness and the other may withdraw or become defensive. EFT therapists help couples recognize these patterns and the underlying emotional needs and fears that drive them.

Through the EFT process, couples learn to express their deepest emotions and needs to their partner in a way that can be heard and understood. The therapist helps create a safe and supportive environment where partners can openly share vulnerable feelings and experiences. By engaging in this deep level of emotional exploration, couples are able to develop empathy and understanding for one another, building a foundation of emotional safety and trust.

EFT therapists guide couples through a series of structured conversations and interventions designed to reshape their emotional responses and foster new patterns of interaction. These interventions may include highlighting and reframing negative cycles, facilitating corrective emotional experiences, and promoting positive bonding behaviors. The therapist helps couples reframe conflicts as opportunities for connection and growth, rather than as threats to the relationship.

The ultimate goal of EFT is to create a secure and lasting bond between partners, where they can rely on each other for emotional support, comfort, and connection. Research has consistently shown that EFT is effective in helping couples overcome relationship distress and improve relationship satisfaction. It has also been successful in treating various issues such as relationship conflicts, infidelity, intimacy problems, and the impact of trauma on relationships. EFT worksheets can help therapists implement EFT therapy.

EFT is not limited to couples therapy; it has also been adapted for use in individual therapy, family therapy, and even within other therapeutic modalities. It offers a powerful framework for understanding emotions, relationships, and human attachment needs, and has been widely embraced by therapists worldwide.

In summary, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a transformative therapeutic approach that helps couples create secure emotional bonds, heal relationship distress, and cultivate lasting intimacy. By focusing on emotions, attachment, and creating a safe emotional space, EFT offers couples a pathway to reconnect, repair, and strengthen their relationships.

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Tim Tarks

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Tim Tarks
Joined: October 15th, 2019
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