A 4-Day Externship is the first step to becoming Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT).  Developed by Dr. Sue Johnson, Emotionally Focused Therapy is a powerful, empirically validated approach to working with even the most distressed couples. An EFT Externship includes observation of live interviews, theory and clinical techniques, skill training exercises, and supervision in specific areas. (Eligible participants may also earn 28 CEU credits!)

By attending participants will:

  • learn to see marital distress from an attachment perspective
  • help partners reprocess the emotional responses that maintain marital distress
  • shape new interactions and bonding events
  • overcome therapeutic impasses

What is EFT?

EFT is a proven-effective model, with improvement rates in the 90th percentile, and amazing recovery rates at 70-73%. This model utilizes the theory of adult love in a systematic map to heal distressed couple relationships, which has a positive effect on the rest of the family – ultimately – society. The externship is recommended for mental health professionals, students and clergy that counsel couples including psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, marriage and family therapists, and mental health interns. This is an ICEEFT-approved prerequisite course for certification in Emotionally Focused Therapy.


Upcoming Externships

New Mexico 


Please note that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of our EFT Externships will be hosted online.  Please check each Externship page for dates, pricing, scheduling, and registration information. You may also reach out to hosting EFT Centers and Communities.

CE Information

Participants may earn 28 CE credits for attending the entire externship program. Partial credits will not be offered. The cost for CE credits is usually an additional $30-$35 depending on license type. All CE Certificates are processed by a 3rd party, Dr. Allison Brownlee, so we are unable to extend scholarship or discounts to the price of CE Certificates. 

About Our CE Provider:

Dr. Brownlee is an approved Continuing Education Provider (CEPA) through the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSW, LPCCs and/or LEPs. Allison handles the CE Certificates for all of Dr. Palmer-Olsen’s Externships and may be reached by email at dr.allisonbrownlee@gmail.com.

Note: if you are inquiring about the status of your CE Certificate, please allow Allison at least two weeks from your externship conclusion date for processing (as she will need to verify your attendance, payment, evaluation, and then customize your certificate). In all emails, please be sure to include the name of the program, your training dates, and trainer names.  

Educational Objectives for each day of the Externship in Emotionally Focused Therapy

Day 1: Introduction to Couple Distress, Attachment Theory, Process of EFT, the Model, The Research, and The Map

  1. Describe the nature and causes of marital distress from an attachment perspective.
  2. Describe basic Attachment Theory and how it informs working with couples in EFT.
  3. Describe the systemic elements of EFT.
  4. Describe change factors involved in a couple moving from distress to recovery.
  5. Describe the 3 stages of EFT.
  6. Practice the basic empathy skills that are central to the therapeutic process in EFT.

Day 2: Assessment, Alliance Stage 1

  1. Describe and practice assessment skills in EFT
  2. Describe and practice how to create a therapeutic alliance using: empathic attunement, validation, acceptance, genuineness.
  3. Describe and practice how to enter experience of partners to find out how each constructs his/her experience of their relationship.
  4. Describe and practice how to track and frame the sequences of interaction that perpetuate couples’ distress.
  5. Describe the difference between primary and secondary emotions.
  6. Describe and practice how to frame the negative cycle (e.g., pursue/withdraw) emphasizing attachment needs (e.g., closeness, connection, importance of the other, fear of loss).

Day 3: EFT Interventions and Change Events Stage 2  

  1. Describe systemic and experiential theories that underlie EFT interventions.
  2. Describe and practice the basic EFT interventions for working with emotion, i.e. reflection, validation, evocative responding, empathic conjecture and heightening.
  3. Describe and practice how to use RISSSC to access and heighten emotional experience.
  4. Describe and practice how to facilitate interaction between partners by using enactments.
  5. Explain how to put the interventions together to facilitate change events.
  6. Describe the three change events in EFT: de-escalation, withdrawer engagement and pursuer softening.
  7. Describe and practice the skills of accessing, exploring and deepening emotion.
  8. Describe and practice the skills of facilitating acceptance.
  9. Describe how to choreograph change events using enactments.

Day 4: Individual Therapy and Attachment Injuries

  1. Explain attachment injuries from an Attachment Theory perspective.
  2. Explain the steps toward resolving attachment injuries, creating forgiveness.
  3. Describe EFT skills as they apply to individuals and families.
  4. Describe an EFT approach to managing co-morbidities
  5. Summarize ways to continue learning EFT and refining skills in this method of therapy.


General Cancellation Policy

Refund requests will be honored up to 30 days. All refund requests will be subject to a $50 processing fee. No refunds within the 30-day cancellation, but we will consider requests to transfer funds to future externships or core skills registrations on a case-by-case basis. 



Experience: To participate, you must have the training and educational qualifications to legally practice as a professional mental health practitioner in the area I live OR be currently enrolled in formal training to be a professional mental health practitioner.*

*Participants must be familiar with and abide by professional and legal confidentiality requirements regarding all client information shared in the training. Certification in EFT is offered by ICEEFT based on completion of all requirements and demonstrated competence in the model. Completion of training does not guarantee competence or certification. Enrollment in this training constitutes an agreement to hold harmless The San Diego Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy, the Training and Research Institute for Emotionally Focused Therapy (TRI-EFT), and all presenters and trainers from any and all claims, actions, and judgements, including all costs of defense and attorney’s fees incurred in defending against the same. I have read and agree to follow the terms for participation.

Confidentiality: You must agree to keep confidential the personal identifying information of case material shared in the training. I agree to not record any part of this training in any format (audio, video, or visual). Personal written notes of non-confidential material are permitted.



  • “The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection” BY Susan M. Johnson, 2nd Edition, 2004
  • Becoming an Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist: The Workbook” BY Susan M. Johnson, et al, 2005
  • EFT for Dummies written by Jim Furrow and Brent Bradley, 2012

For additional training materials, click the button below. This link routes to a password-protected page. The password will be provided via email as your externship start date draws close.