What is EFT?
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples is a new type of marital therapy that can effectively improve relationships and deepen emotional and physical intimacy between partners. For decades, marital therapy has been a relatively unsuccessful, frustrating venture, focusing on communication rules and behavioral contracts between partners. But love relationships are not businesses, and it turns out that rules and contracts don’t work all that well when couples are lonely, angry, or hurting. Instead, what really seems to be important are emotions and the attachments couples have with each other. In fact, as Sue Johnson, founder of EFT, has asserted, human beings are not only social animals, we are bonding animals, and problems within relationships come from patterns or ways of relating that cause couples to disconnect emotionally from these bonds. EFT thus places primary importance on attachment and emotion.
EFT, as developed by Sue Johnson (author of Hold Me Tight and Love Sense), gets to the heart of the couple’s loneliness and pain, and helps the relationship to heal from the bottom-up. This means that, for example, instead of being told how to communicate better, divide chores more equally, and act more like happy couples, partners are guided to discover the disruptive patterns that derail their attachment and to experience moments of emotional bonding within the therapy session, that in turn create deeper, more loving relationships.
Important to EFT is the idea that partners in relationships are not individually at fault. Instead, the unhelpful pattern is seen as a negative cycle, and the cycle becomes the focus of change. This is true whether couples are fighting the same fight every day, living like roommates, unable to be intimate with each other at all, and/or healing from affairs or other attachment injuries. And relatively healthy relationships can be made even more intimate, connected, and secure.