What is Emotionally Focused Therapy

What is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

Defining EFT

EFT stands for Emotionally Focused Therapy. It can be used with individuals, couples, and families, and EFT Therapists must meet requirements established by the International Center for Excellence in EFT.

To go deeper into EFT, I like to share a summary from Matt Angelstorf: “The human psychic, or core emotional self, or whatever we want to call it, really exists and achieves health and well-being only in a context of particular interactions with others (which happen in the context of particular relationships) – interactions over which we have some influence – but our influence is limited.  Our power to influence lies in the signals we send about our emotions and needs and how we send them.  So in EFT we help partners learn to send signals that will more likely build nurturing relationships in which their core emotional needs can be met.  We also enable them to identify and seek out emotionally capable relationship partners with whom healthy relationships could be built.

What distinguies EFT most from other apporache is that in EFT we work not only with the “within,” i.e. with interapsychic processes. We also focus a lot on the “between,” i.e. on interpersonal processes – and on how the “within” and “between” interact and mutually shape each other in that interaction. We do this preferably in the context of couple or family therapy where a significant real other can be present. If we cannot have a real other present, then we work with a fantasied other, an aspect of the client’s self or by making use of our own presence as a feeling and emotionally engaged other.”

To couples considering EFT, I would ask: Are you yearning for love and connection? And instead, are you…

  • Having recurring fights without resolution?
  • Feeling disrespected and alone?
  • Lacking affection, intimacy or sex?
  • Feeling untrusted, un-trusting or betrayed?

If so, then Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy may be exactly the help you need. With EFT you can…

  • Rebuild safety and trust
  • Receive more caring and respect
  • Resolve conflicts with love

EFT gets right to the heart of the problems that keep relationships from being deeply satisfying. It is designed to stop the negative and stuck patterns in marriages and other primary relationships, transforming them into the loving, caring connection and understanding you desire. It addresses communication blockages and helps you to be really heard, and in a way that brings the one you love closer to you.

EFT has been used in many settings—University clinical training centers, private practice and hospital clinics.

An extensive body of research conducted over 20 years ago and published in leading journals, shows that EFT works very well, that treatment results last, and that ICEEFT-approved training gives EFT therapists the skills to heal hurting relationships. Further, the results of rigorous studies show that the positive effects from EFT are larger than any other couple intervention has achieved to date.

EFT has proven to be successful in helping many types of couples dealing with relationship conflict. In addition to decreasing relationship distress, EFT has also been effective in helping couples and families suffering with issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic illness. EFT addresses the heart of the matter in relationships and helps couples and family members create more connected and secure relationships.


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Over 25 years of research has found that EFT is a highly effective treatment for repairing and strengthening hurting relationships. EFT creates improvements in 90% of couples coming in for therapy.


We aim to cultivate a climate of inclusion, an environment where all can feel safe, valued, cared for, and given an opportunity to form meaningful connections with each other. In all facets of our work we strive to embody what we hope to see in the world – a just, loving humanity and community in which people are free to be themselves fully – where people can embrace their most basic universal human attachment needs without fear of persecution or marginalization as a result of religion, race, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, class, mental health, physical character or disability. These values are inherent in the attachment science and humanistic approach to intervention that all our work is based on.

Specifically, humanistic approaches such as EFT are collaborative and respectful. We create a safe place for people and treat them as persons not problems or types. Our approach is non-pathologizing in practice. Our values are inclusive and egalitarian while viewing human connection as sacred – something to be honoured and cultivated. Our scientific and theoretical base outlines key universals, emotion and attachment, while respecting individual differences.

EFT Trainers Retreat 2017