What is EFT?
EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) is an evidence-based method of therapy for couples, families, and individuals created by Sue Johnson. Couples, families, and individuals often find themselves stuck in repetitive patterns that leave them feeling misunderstood and alone. These patterns might involve feelings of being shut out, attacked, unwanted, not being heard, or craving greater closeness. We help our clients understand their typical pattern and learn how to relate in a deeper emotional way that fosters understanding and leads to real, authentic, intimate connection. EFT is all about “scuba diving” into the feelings of pain, hurt, sadness, or fear lurking underneath the surface of destructive cycles. As humans, we usually aren’t aware of the vulnerable emotions that are driving our protective responses and disconnection. Uncovering and risking to share these emotions is the secret to a deeper emotional bond because sharing vulnerability pulls for compassion and is the foundation for a felt sense of connection with others and ourselves.
What is the Goal of EFT?
Many therapy methods coach you to change negative behaviors in your relationships to improve your communication. The problem is, most of us know what good communication looks like in the first place. You know you shouldn’t yell at you partner or withdraw from them, but your communication skills go out the window in the heat of your relationship patterns, and trying to use these skills can feel forced if you are trying to change your behaviors without addressing the unspoken issues that underlie your impulses.
The goal of EFT is not just better communication, but a secure connection with ourselves and others. One study demonstrates secure attachment (particularly in the couple relationship) beautifully. Women came into a lab and were electrically shocked while holding their husbands’ hands. Initially, these women were in unhappy marriages and experienced considerable pain from the electric shock. After a course of EFT, however, the women considered the pain only “uncomfortable” and the pain centers in their brains were considerably less active when holding their husbands’ hands (Johnson, 2013). In other words, EFT can enhance the safety and security in your relationship to make your bond a refuge from the pain and stresses of the outside world. When your relationship serves as a source of comfort and soothing, you have a “safe haven” and a life-enhancing bond that can make the stresses of life seem less painful and more manageable. Not only can you be happy in your relationship, you can improve your mental and physical health by building a secure attachment with your partner.
Effective couples therapy will guide you in developing greater emotional awareness and having transformative conversations that will move you toward a more secure and satisfying bond. In nourishing a relationship in this way, you will build a secure base that can bring comfort and joy into your life and provide the strength to face life challenges.
As EFT therapists, we believe that this powerful force, called love, is the most important thing in this life. And EFT can help.
Johnson, S. (2013). Love sense: The revolutionary new science of romantic relationships. Little, Brown Spark.
Johnson, S. (2008). Hold me tight: Seven conversations for a lifetime of love. Little, Brown Spark.