Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a form of therapy that was created by Dr. Sue Johnson in the 1980s. It focuses on emotions and emotionally charged events to resolve conflicts that often lead to disconnection and distance between people. EFT helps couples and families reconnect emotionally, become closer emotionally, and better understand each other’s needs more effectively than traditional couple counseling does. EFT has been researched for many years and is considered an evidence-based practice. This means that there is a good amount of research that shows the therapy works. In this article, we will focus on Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples. EFT also works for families and individuals, but EFT couple therapy is the most common.
Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFCT)
Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFCT) is intended to be a brief therapy. This means that for most couples it takes 8-20 sessions to complete the therapy. This therapy may take longer in the event of issues such as an affair, major betrayal, or substance abuse.
What does the first Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy Session Look Like?
During the first session, the therapist or counselor will be getting to know you as a couple and will be assessing the problems you are facing as partners. The therapist will ask for background details on the relationship, as well as information about each partner. The counselor is trying to understand the story of your relationship as each of you sees it. He or she will want to understand if you both view the problem in the same way, or have different thoughts on what is going wrong.
Tracking the Cycle in EFT
In the first few sessions, the therapist will be working with you to understand your negative cycle. Most of the time, couples are stuck in a rut and find themselves replaying the same arguments using the same words and argument styles. It’s like they have learned a dance and they cannot do any new steps. The counselor will help you understand your cycle and what each partner’s moves in the cycle are. The good news is, you and your partner are not the ones causing the problem. The negative cycle is the root of your issues.
Defeating the Negative Cycle in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy
Once the negative cycle has been tracked, the therapist will help you learn to defeat it. Doing things differently is the key. It can be difficult at first, but with practice, a new way of loving and relating becomes a habit. The therapist will first help you to realize that the cycle is the problem, not you, not your partner. The next step is to start noticing your cycle and calling it out. This is different and can help interrupt the cycle. The therapist will also help you both learn why you are acting the way you do when the cycle happens.
The EFT Tango
As you begin to interrupt the negative cycle and learn new ways of relating, your relationship will inevitably start changing. You’ll find yourself feeling emotionally closer than ever before. This closeness is like a dance called “the EFT tango.” That may sound silly (and it kind of is), but this is what couples in therapy call their experience when they are beginning to feel emotionally connected again. This dance includes understanding what feelings make you and your partner act the way you do when in your negative cycle. The EFT tango also helps you be able to understand your needs and voice them to your partner and vice versa. Finally, the EFT tango helps partners hear and understand their partner’s needs and emotions and reply to them in a way that is healthy and accepting, strengthening the couple’s emotional bond.
What is an EFT Seminar or Hold Me Tight Seminar?
There are two types of Hold Me Tight training based on EFT: Hold Me Tight seminars and Hold Me Tight workshops. A seminar is a three-day training where couples learn how to use the principles based on Emotionally Focused Therapy to connect with each other and become closer. The Hold Me Tight workshop is an eight-session workshop version of the seminar. Hold Me Tight is intended to help couples improve their relationships and foster a deeper connection. It is not meant for couples in crisis such as those considering separation, recovering from affairs or dealing with substance abuse. Those topics are better dealt with in couples therapy with your own personal therapist. Columbus Therapy and Hypnosis offers both styles of Hold Me Tight training and would love to talk with you about which would be the best fit based on your schedule. Reach out to us to find out when our next set of Hold Me Tight sessions will take place either online or in person. You can also call us at 614-245-5119.
How Do I Find an EFT Therapist?
If emotionally focused couple therapy sounds like something that might help you and your partner, the first step to take is finding an emotionally focused therapist. The ICCEFT website has a list of therapists who are trained in this form of couple counseling. We have therapists that are trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy and would be happy to speak with you about how we can help you improve your relationship. If you would like to talk to a therapist, we offer free phone consultations to help you get to know us and how we work. That way you can find out if we are a fit without having to spend money to do so. If you would like to book an appointment or get a consultation click here for our contact form or call 614-245-5119. We have day, weekend and evening appointments available. We see clients in person in our office in Columbus, Ohio. We also offer in-home appointments in the greater Columbus and Youngstown, Ohio areas. We provide telehealth services throughout the state of Ohio, doing video sessions using our HIPAA-compliant video software.