Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples
Strengthen your bond as a couple, feel more connected and rediscover the purpose of your relationship
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a short-term approach to helping distressed couples find their way back to a loving and close relationship. The process helps you to let your guard down and feel safe with your partner, opening the door for intimacy and re-connection to take place. Although our natural instinct is to move towards each other, we tend to override it when we feel upset in our relationship, usually based on things that happened previously in this relationship or somewhere in our past. Fearful of our emotional response, we turn away as a means of protecting ourselves. Emotionally Focused Therapy supports couples to reconnect with this natural instinct of closeness and attachment. EFT can be one of the quickest and easiest ways to go to the core of a couple’s distress patterns. Because it is an approach that supports both of you, many couples find it an effective way to get from distant or gridlocked conflict, towards a space where partners can rediscover a secure and loving bond.
Emotionally Focused Therapy was developed by leading Canadian psychologists, Dr. Susan Johnson and Dr. Leslie Greenberg. The course of therapy usually takes 12 to 30 sessions, as couples are guided through the following process of therapy:
Stage One involves looking at the negative or non-helpful cycle you are in. Understanding this current cycle and the underlying emotions helps identify the roadblocks hindering the desire to feel closer to each other.
Stage Two is about reconnecting, learning to accept your experience as well as your partner’s, getting to discover aspects of yourself, and learning new ways of interacting with one another.
Stage Three consolidates your new way of being together and explores new solutions to your old patterns. You are able to apply these new skills to moving toward each other. If you are looking to strengthen your bond and feel more connected as a couple, this may be the time for you to try some EFT session with one of the Steadfast Counsellors.
In the words of our counsellors
“In EFT, we look at the negative cycle that the couple is stuck in. We learn to recognize it, name it and understand the deeper desire. At that point, we can start to change it by attending to the real emotional needs of each person. The couple then learns how to respond to each other in a way that tunes into themselves and each other in a meaningful way. In doing so, they create a positive cycle (experience) between the two of them.” Laura Bradley
“EFT is a structured system of therapy that really helps bring mutual understanding and compassion back to relationships that have been derailed by upset. It helps couples build insight and ultimately the emotional responsibility it takes to be in a healthy, vibrant and loving partnership!”
“EFT is an emotionally driven process of rebuilding the attachment bond between two people in relationship. It’s where we develop a new way of seeing our relationship by finding a secure and loving place in our partners, rather then continuing the cycle of distance and mistrust.” Julie Hughes
“EFT helps couples find a way to recreate their attachment bond to one another. EFT also provides the underlying understanding that the degree that we feel connected to others allows us the degree to feel safe. Something else I’ve learned in EFT. When a couple says ‘We’re incompatible’… it really means they don’t feel safe to be themselves, to be seen and heard. Therefore, detachment is the ultimate protection strategy.” Jennifer Harder
“What I love about EFT is that, initially, the focus is on uncovering the negative cycle that is happening between the couple. So in a way, couples can relax because we are not looking at who did what or assigning blame. We look at the negative cycle that has become habit, that feeds itself, and then turn to what underlying fears, wants and needs are driving it. With support from the therapist, couples can reconnect and discover a new, positive cycle between them where there is room for both people’s wants and needs.” Anna Guest