Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy
"Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), founded by Dr. Sue Johnson, is a new way of understanding adult love relationships, drawing from attachment theory. This approach has been met with unprecedented success in helping distressed couples improve their relationship and deepen their bond. This approach has also been acknowledged by the American Psychological Association as having valid research supporting its effectiveness.
EFT starts with the foundation that people are inherently social beings, and that we are ‘hardwired’ to create and maintain strong emotional ties with our partner and loved ones. This biological truth helps us understand how powerfully attached we are to our partners and how fully we rely on our partners for comfort and support. This is healthy attachment, and it helps us be stronger and bolder in the world. It means we need our partner to be accessible, responsive, and engaged.
EFT understands distress in relationships as centered in the loss of secure emotional connection. When this happens, a negative cycle or ‘dance’ develops as each partner tries to cope with the loss of connection. In these negative cycles, couples respond with anger, criticism, distancing, silence, or relationship distractions, to name a few common responses. Once established, these negative cycles can crop-up over the slightest issue, and over time are corrosive to the bonds of trust and security in the relationship. EFT aims to help couples stop these negative cycles by first identifying and mapping out this cycle, then helping partners identify and articulate their needs to each other in a way that helps their partner to have greater understanding, compassion and empathy. In turn, each partner can then express a more loving, compassionate response." (EFT Resource Center Website)
In my work with couples I have found this approach to be highly effective in helping couples shift out of insecure, destructive cycles of mutual blame or pursuer/withdrawer into a more supportive, loving pattern of connection. Through EFT we work to rebuild the foundations of your relationship, establishing a secure emotional bond in which both partners feel nurtured and enlivened.
“Rigorous studies over the past fifteen years have found that 70-75 percent of couples who go through EFT recover from distress and are happy in their relationships. The results appear lasting, even for couples who are at high risk for divorce.” (Sue Johnson, 2008, p. 5)