EFT for Couples (EFT-C)
Emotion Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT-C) is a humanistic and experiential therapy based on emotion and attachment theories. It offers a systematic approach to reduce distress and conflict, and to increase tenderness and security, in loving adult relationships. EFT-C helps you to identify, understand and alter negative interaction cycles within your relationship, and to strengthen the emotional bonds that make your relationship satisfying.
How does EFT-C work?
EFT for couples views emotions as centrally important to how we experience ourselves and our relationships. It emphasizes the importance of attending to emotional experiences as a way to build intimacy and closeness, and to support autonomy and self-confidence.
Emotions play a particularly important role in relationships. They are a rich source of information about what is happening inside and between us. The emotions that we experience and express form the basis of how we define our relationships, for example as loving and safe or as disengaged and resentful.
Healthy relationship bonds make room for us to understand and make sense of our individual feelings and needs while feeling secure enough to assert these needs in a vulnerable and open way. When we engage in negative interactions with each other – withdrawing, attacking – we weaken relationship bonds, and introduce fear and uncertainty. Over time, a relationship can become “caught” in a repetitive negative cycle.
Emotion focused couples therapists support you to actively engage with each other in an emotionally safe way. Sharing deeper feelings with each other in an atmosphere of empathy and shared vulnerability deepens intimacy while promoting mature interdependence.
What happens in EFT-C?
Emotion focused couples therapists work directly with emotion to help you make sense of your feelings, to tolerate and manage them, and to use them to meet your needs and goals including improving your relationship. You will be helped to identify and understand negative cycles in your relationship and the emotions that underlie them, and guided to interact in a new way that allows you to perceive yourself and your partner differently. You will be supported in attending to feelings of hurt, insecurity and anger in a way that does not leave your partner feeling judged, inadequate, criticized or blamed. In this process you will learn how to relate to each other in a way that brings you closer together, while building a relationship that meets both your needs.
Is EFT-C effective?
Emotion Focused Therapy for Couples is an empirically supported treatment that emerged from an extensive program of research investigating how people change in therapy. It is designed to be brief (12-20 sessions) but may be longer depending on your issues and goals. Research indicates EFT-C is effective for a broad range of couples, with an overwhelming majority of couples reporting sustained improvement in the quality of their relationship.