The Approach using Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT)

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The core theory of Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT) is grounded in attachment theory. Johnson (2008) asserts, “when we feel generally secure, that is, we are comfortable with closeness and confident about depending on loved ones, we are better at seeking support – and better at giving it” (p. 22). Therefore, the goal of an EFT therapist is to enhance, promote, and foster connection with a couple. An EFT therapist is less concerned about the “presenting” problem such as my husband or wife doesn’t help enough. Rather, the EFT therapist is focused on the emotions and lack of connection around that problem. The EFT therapist believes that the couple’s emotional connection will heal the couple’s self-prescribed problem. Johnson (2008) states, “Underneath all the distress, partners are asking each other: Can I count on you, depend on you? Are you there for me? Will you respond to me when I need, when I call? Do I matter to you? Am I valued and accepted by you? Do you need me, rely on me? The anger, the criticism, the demands, are really cries to their lovers…to reestablish a sense of safe connection” (p. 30).

Dr. Sue Johnson writes, “Rigorous studies during the past fifteen years have shown that 70 to 75 percent of couples who go through EFT recover from distress and are happy in their relationships…EFT has been recognized by the American Psychological Association as an empirically proven form of couple therapy” (Johnson, 2008, p. 7).

Johnson, S. (2008). Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. New York: Little Brown.

In addition to the EFT process, I have also found that there are times when we get so stuck in the negative cycle that Attachment-Focused EMDR becomes very helpful. To find out more about this process click here