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Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)

EFT is a structured approach to couple therapy developed by Dr. Susan Johnson and recognized by the American Psychological Association as an empirically-validated form of couple therapy. Rigorous studies have shown that 70 - 75 percent of couples who go through EFT recover from distress and are happy in their relationships.


Humans are hardwired to seek secure attachments. According to neuroscience, when we feel our attachment with our partner is threatened we have a primal fear response of "fight or flight". This deeply emotional response often causes partners to send one another distorted signals leaving the other partner wondering, "Are you there for me?" "Can I count on you?" EFT has found that partners cope with these feelings in one of two ways. One uses anger, blaming and argument to get their partner's attention. The other shuts down, reasoning that if the attachment is lost, they will try not to need the other person at all. Couples are then caught in a negative cycle of pursue and withdraw with no idea how to break out of it.

In EFT we take behaviors that look provocative, negative and outrageous and reframe them in terms of a person's best attempt to get their emotional needs for attachment and connection met. Once partners can recognize and admit their need to feel bonded to and dependent on one another, this is their shared strength that drives the rest of the process.  In time, couples learn to recognize their negative cycle and master how to pull out of it, or avoid it completely.  Finally, EFT strengthens the emotional bond between partners by identifying and transforming the key moments that foster an adult loving relationship: being open, attuned, and responsive to each other.

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