Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples is a short-term, scientifically supported therapy that helps people get to the heart of their problems quickly and create lasting positive changes in their relationships. It is regarded one of the most effective approaches to marriage and couple therapy. Research studies find that after 10-12 sessions, 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery, and 90% of couples show significant improvement. EFT has been shown to be an effective treatment for couples with a variety of issues, including depression, past infidelity, grief and loss, and past trauma. EFT effectiveness spans various cultures, with traditional and nontraditional families, and with gay and lesbian families.
The EFT model is based on the belief that all human beings need safe, secure emotional connections in their intimate relationships. Developed by Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg, the goal of EFT is to create a strong connection between partners. Relationship distress is seen as a result of a perceived threat to this connection. When couples argue about issues (money, jealousy, sex, etc.) the origins of these arguments are seen as a form of protest about not feeling connected. When our partner is not available, or are not responding to our needs to feel close or supported – we become distressed. We may feel anxious, fearful, numb or distant.
EFT focuses on what causes relationship distress and provides a detailed map to identify and stop the negative repetitive interactions that overtake the opportunity for connection. A new cycle of interaction is established in which both partners are experienced as available and responsive to each others needs. This safe, secure attachment allows couples to be flexible in problem solving — communicate effectively even during conflicts.
Jennifer Chappell Marsh, Chappell Therapy provides Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples in San Diego.