Written by
Mary R. Stanley

Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT)

Published on 
May 10, 2023

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a form of couples therapy developed by Dr. Sue Johnson in the 1980s. The therapy is based on the premise that attachment is a fundamental human need and that individuals have an innate drive to form and maintain intimate connections with others. EFT is grounded in attachment theory and focuses on helping couples to identify and express their underlying emotions and needs in order to develop deeper and more meaningful relationships.

Dr. Sue Johnson is a leading expert in the field of couples therapy and is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on the science of love and relationships. She is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Ottawa in Canada and has authored numerous books and articles on the topic of relationships and attachment. Her most well-known book, "Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love," has been translated into over 20 languages and has helped countless couples to improve their relationships.

EFT is a short-term therapy that typically consists of 8-20 sessions. The therapy focuses on three main stages:

  1. De-escalation: The first stage of EFT involves helping the couple to identify and de-escalate the negative patterns that are causing distress in their relationship. This involves identifying the negative cycles of interaction that the couple is caught in and helping them to understand how these cycles are perpetuated.
  2. Restructuring: The second stage of EFT involves helping the couple to restructure their interactions in a more positive way. This involves helping them to express their underlying emotions and needs more effectively and to develop new ways of interacting that promote connection and closeness.
  3. Consolidation: The final stage of EFT involves consolidating the gains made in therapy and helping the couple to maintain the positive changes in their relationship over time. This involves helping them to continue to communicate effectively and to stay connected emotionally.

EFT has been shown to be highly effective in improving relationships and reducing distress. Research studies have found that EFT is effective in treating a variety of relationship issues, including communication problems, infidelity, and attachment injuries. EFT has also been found to be effective in treating couples with a history of trauma or abuse.

Dr. Sue Johnson's contributions to the field of couples therapy have been immense. Her research and clinical work have helped to transform our understanding of the importance of emotional connection in relationships. Her approach to therapy has helped countless couples to develop stronger, more secure bonds with one another, leading to more fulfilling and satisfying relationships.

In conclusion, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a powerful and effective form of couples therapy that helps couples to develop deeper emotional connections and to overcome the negative patterns that are causing distress in their relationship. Dr. Sue Johnson's contributions to the field of couples therapy have been immense, and her approach to therapy has helped countless couples to develop more meaningful and satisfying relationships. If you are struggling in your relationship, EFT may be a powerful tool to help you and your partner find your way back to each other.

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