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    A Deep Dive Into Emotionally Focused Couple’s Therapy (EFT)

    The practice of EFT which was developed by Dr. Sue Johnson and DR. Leslie Greenberg is based on 50 years of research into bonding and attachment theory—both mother and child, and romantic bonds. The main function of EFT is to serve as a map to what truly matters in intimate relationships, what works, what goes wrong, and how to fix problems that arise.

    The therapeutic technique is backed by substantial empirical validation and data have been gathered across a wide range of couples, including depressed couples, couples who’ve experienced trauma, and couples caring for a chronically ill child. Duration is variable but EFT is typically completed within 8-20 sessions.

    At its core, EFT is a synthesis of three major therapeutic approaches: Carl Rogers—experiential therapy, Salvador Minuchin—systemic therapy, and John Bowlby—attachment and bonding. EFT is experiential because it strives to discover how the relationship is being experienced by the couple and how that experience influences what each partner expresses within the relationship. EFT is systemic because it encompasses the whole relationship, identifies patterns of where and how couples get stuck, and how to appropriately fix those issues. The goal of EFT is to create a more secure emotional bond between partners, to increase satisfaction, intimacy, and ultimately trust.

    The role of the EFT therapist is to try to create safety for both partners during the session. The therapist uses five major tools to achieve this:

    1. Focusing on present process – Identify what is happening emotionally inside and between partners in the present.

    2. Deepening emotion – Using probing questions, the therapist tries to tap into the primal core emotions driving the partners and impacting the couple.

    3. Clarification of emotions/Creating new interactions – Once the core emotions have been identified, the therapist will then use that information to facilitate new positive interactions between the couple. Usually, this involves partners speaking directly to one another.

    4. Processing the interaction – After the positive interaction, the therapist will help the couple process what they’ve learned.

    5. Metta – Building the confidence of the partners and the couple by outlining all that was accomplished in the session.

    The three essential stages of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy are de-escalation of the negative cycle, corrective bonding experience, and consolidation. By reflecting on the couple’s reality, slowing down the process, asking simple questions, and validating the couple’s concerns, the EFT therapist guides the couple towards new positive interactions and bonding conversations.

    If you recognize destructive patterns in your relationship please know that it can be changed. Contact John Gallagher, Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist at (407) 579-2070 or go to www.holdmetightorlando.com to find out about Mr. Gallagher’s next Hold Me Tight two-day couples program.

    Source: http://www.drsuejohnson.com/emotionally-focused-therapy-2/what-is-eft/#more-2012