Emotionally Focused therapy - EFT

EFT Therapy – Develop Stronger and Deeper Bonds

Have You Ever Felt "Stuck" In a Relationship?

Sometimes it seems like no matter what you do, you still end up having the same argument again and again. Emotions are an intense part of everyone’s experience, and they run the gamut from joy to despair. But although they give life meaning, sometimes people feel helpless in the face of emotions, especially when they are painful and come up repeatedly in a relationship.

Emotionally Focused Therapy, or EFT, was developed by Dr. Sue Johnson, and it’s been shown to be the most effective form of couples counselling available. It explores those intractable emotions and the needs that drive them.

EFT uses techniques that are drawn from the best research into attachment. Understanding how we bond with others helps people rewrite their relationship rules, so they can free themselves from these frustrating cycles and feel secure, creating happier and healthier bonds with those they love.

What is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a leading-edge therapy for couples (and individuals) being used all over the world. EFT is based on the last 50 years of research into bonding on relationships, both partners and parent – child. EFT focuses on how people experience their relationship, how they put together their emotional experience and how they express these emotions.

People have an innate drive to seek relationships and create bonds with others. However, precisely because these connections are so important, when problems arise between people, it causes intense pain.

EFT helps people to recognize these patterns and create new, healthier ones.

Not having a secure attachment triggers the brain to feel threatened, making it difficult to see and understand the patterns that are causing conflict.

ICEEFT is the certifying body for EFT, and it’s a great resource for a wealth of research into what this form of therapy is and how it works. This approach is based on evidence about bonding between people, and it uses that scientific knowledge to illuminate how relationships work – or don’t.

By exploring the bonding needs behind painful emotions, people come to understand why they’ve been unable to move past certain problems. This allows us to develop new ways of addressing these needs and fears, creating a relationship that feels mutually safe and supportive.

The fact that EFT therapy is based on research and science means that the therapist has a map to what matters in intimate relationships, how they work, how they go wrong and what is needed to improve

How EFT Therapy Works

There are three basic stages in EFT. The first stage is cycle ‘De-escalation’. This helps people to recognize the negative cycles in their relationships and how they’re causing both partners distress. In this stage, people start to recognize the emotions they’re feeling and the underlying needs they point to.

The second step focuses on ‘Restructuring the Bond’ – changing these patterns of interaction. At this point, the therapist helps them understand their attachment styles and how those needs affect their emotions and reactions. Couples learn to express how they’re feeling and what their needs are. They then learn to respond to each other’s needs in a compassionate and supportive way.

The final step is ‘Consolidation’ and integration, where the couple practices these communications skills, so they can create new patterns of relating to each other. Just as with learning any skill, it takes practice to get comfortable using these new techniques. The therapist works as a coach, giving them tips and helping them get back on track when things get difficult.

EFT Therapy Stage 1 De-escalation, Emotionally Focused Therapy Stage
EFT Therapy Stage 2 Restructuring the Bond, Emotionally Focused Therapy Stage
EFT Therapy Stage 3 Consolidation, Emotionally Focused Therapy Stage

EFT examines the whole relationship and the patterns in the relationship to see how couples get ‘stuck’ in negative cycles. Emotionally focused therapy examines how to shift emotional response signals, and initiate change to create more positive patterns for bonding with their partner or loved one.

EFT focuses on the present, change happens in the present, in the process of interaction between the couple and with what happens in the session.

The goal of EFT is not just to change the way people fight, make them more able to negotiate or feel a little more satisfied with each other, the goal of EFT is to create a more secure emotional bond. Research has shown that EFT and clinical practice is effective in creating an increased security in the bond with your partner

Sue Johnson

What to Expect From An Emotionally Focused Therapy Session

An EFT therapist will guide you to go deeper into your emotional experience, make sense of the experience, take focus on areas you don’t normally take attention to.  An EFT therapist will help you to put this experience in a different way to help your partner move with you in a changed way.

Emotionally Focused Therapy is constantly validating, supporting and helping you make sense of what is happening in the now, during the session. 

An EFT therapist works to create safety in session to develop a more secure bond with 5 steps of the “EFT Tango”.    

The EFT Tango, Emotionally Focused therapy 5 steps, Emotionally focused therapy tango process
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1. Present Process – Reflect on the current process within self and between partners

Analyzing present focus and reactions to situational or emotional developments during conversation. The EFT therapist will focus on the process and emotional processing between the couple during an conversation or disagreement. This stage is about understanding the process of interactions and the process of putting emotions together as a response.

2. Deepen Interaction – Explore deeper emotions and meanings

“How are you feeling right now?”. The therapist will work to understand the deeper meanings of your emotional responses. The EFT therapist will work to clarify the deeper messages and meanings behind these feelings and signals that have been developed in session and help you communicate the deeper meanings as a message to your partner.

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3. Interaction – Communicate deeper meanings and feelings to partner

This stage of the EFT cycle focuses on translating the deeper meanings and feelings you are having to your partner to enhance understanding from newly discovered viewpoint.

4. Processing – Explore how it feels to share with partner

“What was it like to communicate this meaning to your partner? That must have been scary” … “What was it like for you as his/her partner to hear that?”
“I can hear her/him, at least I know I’m not the only one afraid, there has been years of hurt in this relationship”
The new interaction and deepened meaning will create corrective emotional experiences of connection with the couple. This works to counteract the negative pattern of demand and withdrawal that has been commonplace

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5. Summarize – Reflect on the overall process and integrate / validate

The EFT therapist will work to summarize the accomplishments of the couple. And share the accomplishment of deeper meaning, understanding and bonding.

The Benefits of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples

This probably sounds a little overwhelming at first glance. Exploring intense emotions and changing patterns that may have been with you your entire life isn’t easy. But although this approach takes commitment and effort, rest assured that you’re not signing up for years of gruelling work.

EFT usually requires only eight to 20 sessions to empower people to create lasting changes in their relationships. Research shows that even in this limited time frame, it helps people create safe and secure bonds, resulting in more trust, intimacy, and satisfaction. And these changes last.

Research shows that even in this limited time frame, it EFT Therapy helps people create safe and secure bonds, resulting in more trust, intimacy, and satisfaction. And these changes last.

EFT Therapy, Emotion Focused Therapy, Couples Counselling

According to a meta-analysis of research on EFT, it has a higher rate of success than any other form of couple intervention. It even changes the way people’s brains respond to a perceived threat from a partner. Reducing the temperature of that response helps them to feel secure and connected in the relationship, rather than triggering defensive and angry reactions.
By learning to recognize their own needs and emotions, EFT helps people understand their partners better. It increases their ability to treat them with compassion and understanding, while still honouring their own needs.

In short, EFT Therapy not only helps people feel better, it actually helps them to function better in their relationships.

Therapists Practicing Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT Therapists)

Therapist, Counselor, Rosemary Victor, MSW RSW

Rosemary Victor

MSW, RSW
Registered Social Worker,
Psychotherapist

Rosemary believes that people are resilient, and that people can adapt and find hope in the most difficult of times, when they receive the support that they need.

Therapist - Devon Jorge

Devon Jorge

MSW, RSW
Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist & Clinical Director

My passion for truly understanding people’s personal experiences, feelings and their challenges go back as far as I can remember, and allows me to provide the best support possible during times of need

Therapist, Counselor, Katelyn Regier, MSW RSW

Katelyn Regier

MSW, RSW
Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

*EFT for Individuals Only (EFIT)*
I strongly believe that everyone has the capacity for change already within themselves – I aim to empower individuals towards their unique goals in ways that are meaningful to the life they want to live

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