NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Monday, July 16, 2018

What is Emotionally Focused Therapy For Couples (EFT)?

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, also known as EFT, was primarily developed by Canadian psychologist, Dr. Sue Johnson in the 1980s.

See my articles: 

How EFT Couple Therapy Can Help You to Improve Your Relationship).

Dr. Johnson established The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT) in 1998, and the center provides training for psychotherapists in EFT.  There is also an EFT Center in Greater New York (NYCEFT).  EFT is now being used internationally in psychotherapists' offices, hospitals, clinics and in other therapeutic centers around the world.
Emotionally Focused Therapy For Couples

EFT draws on attachment theory, which focuses on the earliest relationship between caregiver and baby, and also the enduring emotional bond between adults.

EFT is also based on Carl Rogers' person-centered psychotherapy, which takes an empathic stance in therapy.  In addition, EFT the theory of adult bonding to help couples understand their individual dynamics and the dynamics in their relationship, including whatever negative cycle they might have developed that keeps them stuck.

What Are the Stages in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT)?
There are three stages of EFT Couple Therapy:
  • Stage 1: De-Escalation:  As part of the first stage of EFT Couple Therapy, the EFT couple therapist begins by assessing the couple's interaction style, which cause conflicts.  She also helps the couple to identify the negative cycle/attachment emotions, and frames the problem based on the cycle, attachment needs and fears.
  • Stage 2: Restructuring the Bond and Changing Interaction Patterns:  During the second stage of EFT Couple Therapy, the EFT therapist assists each person in the relationship to voice his or her attachment needs and deep emotions.  The EFT therapist coaches each person on how to express acceptance and compassion for the other partner's attachment needs and deep emotions.  Each member of the couple is also coached in how to express his or her own attachment needs and emotions and how to discuss the issues that are causing conflicts.
  • Stage 3: Consolidation:  The EFT couple therapist coaches the couple on how to use new communication styles to talk about their problems and come up with new solutions.  The couple also learns to use the skills they learned in EFT couple therapy so they create and use new interaction patterns after they leave EFT couple therapy.

EFT Couple Therapy is a well-researched method that helps couples to improve their relationship.  It has been studied extensively and shown to be effective.

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy

Generally speaking, EFT is a short-term couple therapy model.

EFT Couple Therapy was developed by Sue Johnson, and it is based on attachment theory, Rogerian therapy, and a theory of adult bonding.

There are three stages in EFT (as presented above).

Although the stages are presented in a linear way in this article, in reality, just like any other form of therapy, the process isn't always linear.

Since the couple is coached to identify and change the negative cycle in their relationship, they learn to stop blaming each other.  Instead, they learn that there are "no bad guys"--just a negative cycle that they can learn to change.

For more information about EFT Couple Therapy, see Sue Johnson's book, Hold Me Tight.

Getting Help For Your Relationship in EFT Couple Therapy
If you and your spouse or partner are stuck in a negative dynamic, you owe it to yourself to get help from an EFT couple therapist.

Your EFT couple therapist can help you to restructure the bond in your relationship so you change the negative cycle, express your emotional needs and gain acceptance compassion for your partner's and your own emotional needs.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, EFT couple therapist, EMDR therapist, hypnotherapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work with individuals and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during regular business hours or email me.

Also see my articles:
What Happens in Stage One of EFT Couple Therapy?