About Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
ARE you there for me?
Are you Accessible when I need you?
Are you Responsive when I call?
Are you Engaging with me when I miss you?
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) sees these compelling questions as fundamentally underlying most conflicts in distressed relationships.
His wife’s critical anger and desperation then expands into sadness and vulnerability. She moves from "You just don't care. You don't get it" to a much softer "It is so difficult to say ― but I need you to hold me ― reassure me ― can you?" She can now ask for and elicit comfort. New cycles of bonding interactions occur and replace negative cycles such as 'pursue-withdraw' or 'criticize-defend'. These positive cycles of closeness then become self-reinforcing and create lasting change.
The relationship becomes a safe haven and a healing environment for both partners.
Emotionally Focused Therapy, EFT, sees emotional closeness, safety and intimacy at the core of a loving and meaningful relationship. Developed by Dr. Sue Johnson in the 80s, EFT has been acknowledged as one of the most thoroughly researched, clearly delineated, and empirically validated approaches in the field of couple therapy.
Research studies find that after 12-20 sessions, 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery, and 90% of couples show significant improvement. EFT has been shown to be an effective approach for couples coping with relational distress, infidelity, depression, chronic illness, grief and loss, and past trauma, across various cultures, with traditional and nontraditional families, and with gay and lesbian relationships.
The message of EFT is simple: Forget about learning how to argue better, analyzing in many details your early childhood, making grand romantic gestures, or experimenting with new sexual positions. Instead, recognize and accept that in close relationships you are emotionally attached to and depend on each other in difficult moments, in much the same way that a child is on a parent, for caring, soothing, and protection.
When a relationship is in distress we tend to start a habitual 'dance' which Sue Johnson, the founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples, calls the Demon Dialogues. One person starts complaining and criticising and gets angry and the other starts defending and stonewalling. The couple get caught up in this negative dance which takes on a life of its own as it gains momentum, and very soon we see the other person as the enemy.
EFT helps the partners identify the patterns of blame and distancing and where the misunderstandings are. They begin to appreciate their own and their partner's vulnerability and to be able to speak a deeper truth of what they are feeling and needing in the relationship. EFT shows couples that love comes from feeling that your partner is emotionally available to you, that what is important can be shared and received and that you are special and important to them.
In the sessions you will learn together how to:
- Address stuck patterns and negative cycles in your relationship
- Make sense of your own emotions and those of your partner
- Learn more about your own and your partner’s inner world and emotional needs
- Develop deeper understanding, closeness and safety in the relationship
Information provided by the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy