Emotionally focused couples therapy, EFT, is a therapeutic technique used to treat a variety of relationship and emotional problems. Developed in the 1980s by Susan Johnson and Les Greenberg, EFT helps couples improve their bond and can be a great way to help them stay emotionally connected.
Principles of EFT
EFT helps couples improve their bond so that they can feel safer in their relationship. When they feel securely attached to one another, their communication improves and their conflict resolution becomes much more productive.
The assumption of EFT is that the real problem is as lack of attachment. Conflict and communication problems are just symptoms of the underlying the problem. Helping couples improve their attachment will help resolve those symptoms.
Couples receiving EFT learn how to work with their emotions in a productive manner instead of suppressing them. It teaches people how emotions can be constructive and how they can resolve problems associated with those emotions.
Couples learn how their behavior impacts their partner’s behavior. For example, a wife may learn that the more she tries to get her husband to talk about a problem, the more he shuts down, which in turn causes her to press even harder. Both partners can learn how to deal with their negative emotions in a way that will help the relationship.
Treatment is usually fairly short-term. Often, 15 to 20 sessions are needed to help couples improve their relationship. Couples gain skills to help them continue to grow their bond after therapy ends.
EFT has been used to treat a variety of individual and relationship problems. Studies show that it is as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy. One study even showed that 90 percent of couples reported their relationship went from distressed to happy after receiving EFT.