What Is Emotionally Focused Therapy?
EFT is usually a short term (18-20 sessions), weekly, structured approach to couples therapy formulated in the 1980’s and has developed alongside the science on adult attachment and bonding to expand our understanding about what is happening in couple relationships.
In the last fifteen years, Dr. Johnson and her colleagues have further developed and refined the EFT model of therapy and completed numerous studies siting its effectiveness as one of the most empirically validated relationship therapies on the planet. EFT is also used with families and individuals.
Empirically validated research studies on EFT find that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and approximately 90% show significant improvements. (For more information on EFT research, please see the EFT Research Menu.) There are several contraindication for EFT, which includes on-going emotional abuse, financial abuse, power and control issues, continued contact with the the affair partner when an affair has been disclosed, and process or substance dependance problems, that has not been effectively treated in the past to present.
EFT is being utilized with many different kinds of couples in private practice, university training centers and hospital clinics and many different cultural groups throughout the world. These distressed couples include partners suffering from disorders such as depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorders and chronic illness.
Strengths of Emotionally Focused Therapy
- EFT is based on clear, explicit conceptualizations of marital distress and adult love. These conceptualizations are supported by empirical research on the nature of marital distress and adult attachment.
- EFT is collaborative and respectful of clients combining experiential Rogerian techniques with structural systemic interventions.
- Change strategies and interventions are specified.
- Key moves and moments in the change process have been mapped into nine steps and three change events.
- EFT has been validated by over 30 years of empirical research. There is also research on the change processes and predictors of success.
- EFT has been applied to many different kinds of problems and populations and found to be highly effective.
Goals of Emotionally Focused Therapy
- To expand and re-organize key emotional responses between partners – thereby deepening the music of the dance of attachment.
- To create a shift in partners’ negative interactional positions and initiate new positive cycles of interaction.
- To foster the creation of a secure bond between partners
CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR EFT:
If there is ongoing domestic violence or physical aggression in the relationship, individual therapy is a more effective choice until they negative, aggressive cycles between the couple have subsided for approximately 6 months. There cannot be any court cases involving aggression at the time of the therapy, and should this occur during the therapy, the couple therapy will need to end therapy due safety reasons.