Emotionally Focused Therapy

What Is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples is one of the few therapies that really helps distressed couples create connection, safety, and loving feelings in their relationship, despite years of conflict, distance, betrayals, and hopelessness.

If you are part of a couple that gets caught in the same old argument over and over, or if you feel distant from your partner, EFT can help. It is a model that gets right to the heart of the matter.

Emotionally Focused Therapy is a comprehensive method of relationship counseling, developed by Dr. Sue Johnson, based on research, well-tested theory and decades of clinical practice. It has been heralded by the New York Times and Time magazine as the couple’s therapy with the highest rate of success.

Emotionally Focused Therapy

EFT is a short term structured therapy (10 – 30 sessions, depending on the level of distress) that helps couples move from distress to recovery. The therapy is present-focused, non-blaming, humanistic, and client-centered.

An EFT therapist is highly engaged with the couple, very active, and in the first session creates an atmosphere of safety as the couple begins to address the issues and emotions surrounding their distress.

Watch this brief introduction about how Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy helps you have a better relationship:

Effective Therapy For Couples In Distress

EFT is based on an understanding that, as human beings, we are all “hard-wired” to attach to a significant other.

The need for safety, security and closeness is part of being human, and it is a need that lasts a lifetime. It is the main reason we seek out love and relationships. The closeness and comfort of a “special” other soothes us and provides us with the security we need to grow and thrive.

EFT recognizes that relationship distress results from a perceived threat to our basic needs for safety, security and closeness in intimate relationships. When couples find themselves arguing about the same thing over and over, have difficulty with communication, or have disengaged, it is usually some form of protest from one partner to the other about not feeling important, loved, valued, safe, or secure within the relationship.

When the person who is most important to us is not available, or is not responding to our needs for care and connection we may feel angry, sad, hurt, fearful, numb, alone or distant. We may find ourselves in repetitive patterns of pursuing or withdrawing that take on a life of their own.

Underneath almost every concern that couples bring to therapy are questions about their partner’s:

  • Accessibility: We need to know that we can reach our spouses and feel connected and open to them.
  • Responsiveness: Every one of us longs to be able to count on our partner to attune to our emotional cues, especially when we are upset.
  • Engagement: We want to feel special and cherished by our significant other.

We desperately want to know…

  • Are you there for me?
  • Can I count on you?
  • Do I matter?
  • Do you really love and accept me?

When we don’t know in our hearts that our partner is accessible, responsive, and engaged with us, we become unsteady and try our best to seek reassurance. Sometimes the patterns we create in trying to find safety turn into negative cycles and we get stuck.

Through a series of steps and stages, an EFT therapist helps access the needs for love, support, comfort, and protection that are hidden or disguised by these negative interactional patterns. By creating specific bonding events in sessions, EFT restructures these negative cycles to strengthen your attachment to each other.

Having a strong attachment means you feel safe together, you know you are important to your partner, you are more flexible in problem solving and communication, and you feel closer to one another – like a team again. Most of all, the love, trust and connection that you once had together reappears and can grow to a deeper level than ever before.

Learn More About Emotionally Focused Therapy

Contact A Therapist At The Brandywine Center Today