EFT is an attachment-based experiential therapy that looks at relationship challenges in the context of both individual psychology and the couple, family and larger systems that each partner is a part of. EFT is the gold standard of therapy for couples (EFCT). More recently, adaptations have been developed for working with families and individuals. Below is a description of the map for couples therapy. Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) and Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT) follow the same basic structure with adaptations for their unique needs.
Roadmap for Couples Therapy
EFT provides a roadmap for therapy, helping couples rediscover intimacy and passion and overcome an endless cycle of conflict. This roadmap is based on science, logic, and reason. It has proven to be effective for most couples in long-term, follow-up studies. At the end of successful therapy you will have a secure connection. Then it will be safe to disagree, have conflict, and have periods of independence without distress or risk to the future of your relationship.
Alleviating Distress – the first stage
When starting therapy partners often describe a pattern of the same basic conflict happening over and over regardless of topic. Sometimes this conflict is volatile and hot. Other times it is distant and cool. The more they try to make things better, the worse the relationship seem to get. Couples often report they are losing hope.
After the initial assessment, we will spend each session tracking what happens between you and your partner during times of distress. Then we will explore the emotions and experiences that drive different parts of the cycle. Later, you will begin to learn the true meaning of your partner’s behaviors. Over time you will begin to be able to recognize your part in the cycle and step out of it.
Creating Secure Connection – the second stage
In the second stage of therapy each of you take turns learning and experiencing new ways to share about your self as you discover authentic ways of reaching to your partner. These reaches result in fostering deep secure acceptance and connection. These new experiences become the antidote to the old conflict and disconnection pattern.
Maintaining Love For a Lifetime – the final stage
In the final stage, couples revisit outstanding topics of conflict and quickly resolve them. Then they make plans for continuing to build on the progress they have made.