Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) is supported by extensive research and is effective in benefiting distressed couples, including those where one or both partners suffer from depression, addiction, PTSD, and chronic illness, among other presenting problems. EFT has proven to be a powerful method for couples who are either currently or previously dealing with infidelity or other traumatic incidents. The primary goal of the model is to broaden and adapt the emotional responses of the couple and create new patterns of interacting in the relationship. EFT also provides a language for healthy attachment bonds between partners, identifies key moments and patterns that define the couple’s romantic relationship, and reduces conflict while creating a more secure emotional connection. Instead of placing blame on the individuals involved, EFT focuses on the problematic patterns between them.
Throughout the process, couples learn how to convey deep, underlying emotions from a place of vulnerability as well as develop skills to ask for their respective needs to be met. The therapist assists partners in beginning to view undesirable behaviors (i.e., shutting down or angry outbursts) in the relationship as “protests of disconnection.” Couples learn to be emotionally available, empathic and attuned with each other, strengthening the attachment bond between them. Finally, as new sequences of bonding interactions occur and replace old, negative patterns, these new patterns then become self-reinforcing and create permanent change between the couple. As a result, the relationship becomes a safe and a healing environment for both partners.