Emotionally Focused Therapy is a therapeutic model that focuses on emotions as the driving force in our lives. Especially for couples, EFT has become a globally recognized therapeutic model.

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFTC) is a short-term, structured and research-based approach that is based on an understanding of John Bowlby's Attachment Theory, created in the 1980s by Canadian therapist Dr. Sue Johnson. The therapeutic interventions integrate the systems approach of Salvador Minuchin and the classical systems schools as well as the humanistic experiential approach of Carl Rogers.

We all have an innate need to be connected and to have safe, loving and fulfilling relationships.

An emotionally focused therapist helps partners understand the ways in which they participate in and contribute to repetitive vicious cycles of interaction, creating a "negative dance" from which they draw insecurity, frustration, irritation, and alienation. The therapist helps the couple change the steps of the dance, creating a positive, gentle and secure relationship.

The approach has subsequently evolved and is now used effectively in individual (EFIT) and family therapy (EFFT) in over 80 countries worldwide.

The founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy - Dr. Sue Johnson - speaks about the method:

"Love has the tremendous ability to heal the devastating wounds that life sometimes serves us. Love enhances our sense of connectedness to the wider world. The ability to respond with love is the foundation of a truly compassionate civilized society."
Dr. Sue Johnson

Theoretical foundations

The theoretical roots of EFT are embedded in the Systems Approach, which outlines and explores patterns of communication and behaviour between partners. Also, EFT uses the framework of Attachment Theory to achieve an understanding of the needs of mature loving relationships, adding several techniques from Experiential Therapy. At its core, EFT is a therapeutic model that contains and blends three approaches:

  • Attachment Theory
  • Intrapersonal - experiential
  • Interpersonal - systems approach

The effectiveness and validity of EFT are supported by robust research

Numerous studies of the effectiveness of EFT for couples have demonstrated the significant therapeutic impact and durability of treatment results over time. Partners learn to understand their emotions and those of the other, leading them to sustainable fulfilling relationships. The method has been used successfully with couples in North and South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Asia, the Balkans, regardless of cultural, educational or sexual background.