Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy

There is no doubt about it: relationships can be our greatest source of either comfort or pain. Many of us have experienced the joy of sharing a laugh with our partner, or the frustration of feeling misunderstood. Many of us have had the intention of connecting with our partner, but end up in conflict, wondering how things got so bad.

Researchers have discovered that distressed couples seem to fall into certain patterns of interacting. If we can understand these patterns and create new bonds, it is possible for our relationships to be stronger than ever.

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) is a research-based approach developed by Drs. Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg. It is based on the premise that human beings are wired for intimate and loving relationships. When we feel disconnected, we may react in certain patterned ways. A common pattern therapists encounter, for example, occurs when one partner takes a step back from the relationship and the other partner pursues in an effort to keep that person close. These interactions can create a negative cycle that keeps couples stuck in distress.

EFT is designed to help couples understand the patterns that lead to distress, and find new ways of interacting. Researchers have found that up to 75% of couples who pursue EFT move from distress to recovery, and 90% show significant improvements.

At my psychology practice, I often integrate Emotionally Focused Therapy with the Gottman Method (another research-based approach). I work with clients to understand the interactions that lead to distress, and help them find new ways to connect to each other. This process typically takes between 8-20 sessions after the assessment is complete.

Resources for EFT

Sue Johnson’s YouTube channel

Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson (book)

The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy

Articles on EFT