Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples

EFT is a structured approach for couples focused on adult attachment and bonding. EFT was founded by Dr. Sue Johnson in 1980 to expand therapists’ understanding of couples who are in relational distress. I help couples remove the barriers they use to protect themselves, so they can access and share their feelings with the one they love most. I can help them to get unstuck from their negative cycle and learn to turn towards each other.

EFT looks at key moves and moments that define an adult love relationship. The primary goal of the model is to expand and re-organize the emotional responses of the couple. New sequences of bonding interactions occur and replace old, negative patterns such as “pursue-withdraw” or “criticize-defend.” These new, positive cycles then become self-reinforcing and create permanent change. The relationship becomes a haven and a healing environment for both partners.

Couples learn to express deep, underlying emotions from a place of vulnerability and ask for their needs to be met. Partners begin to view undesirable behaviors (i.e., shutting down or angry escalations) as “protests of disconnection.” Couples learn to be emotionally available, empathic and engaged with each other, strengthening the attachment bond and safe haven between them. 

Research studies have found that 70-75% of couples undergoing EFT successfully move from distress to recovery, and approximately 90% show significant improvements. This recovery is also quite stable and lasting, with little evidence of relapse back into distress (Feuerman, 2019).

%d bloggers like this: