Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples

Emotionally Focused Therapy is a short term (8 to 20 sessions) structured approach, originally developed for couple therapy and based on attachment science.
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Quick Facts

  • Covered by Insurance – Covered by most insurance companies.
  • Pragmatic Process including Stages and Steps to support Relationship Goals – Re-organize key emotional responses and, in the process, the organization of self; To create a positive shift in partners interactional positions and patterns; To foster the creation of a secure bond between partners.
  • Evidence-Based Treatment – Effective treatment for difficult relationship issues including lack of connection, infidelity, and trauma.

Informational Video

Effective Treatment For

  • Lack of Connection
  • Communication Issues
  • Relationship Trauma
  • Infidelity
  • Mistrust
  • Intimacy
  • Parenting Issues
  • Jealousy

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples


  1. Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is based on a clear and unequivocal conceptualization of problems in relationships and adult love. These concepts are supported by empirical research on the nature of adult attachment and relationship distress.
  2. EFT is collaborative and respectful with clients, combining Rogerian experiential techniques with structured systemic interventions.
  3. Defined change strategies and intervention measures.
  4. The actions and key moments in the transformation process have been mapped into nine steps and three transformation events.
  5. EFT has been verified through more than 20 years of empirical research. There is also research on the change process and predictors of success.
  6. EFT has been applied to many different types of problems and populations.

What is EFT?

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a structured short-term method (8 to 20 times), originally developed for couples therapy, based on attachment science, developed in the 1980s. The EFT intervention integrates an experiential method focused on being human to reconstruct emotional experience and a systematic structural method to reconstruct interaction. There have been a large number of studies on the efficacy of EFT. This study shows that over time, the effect of treatment is great and the results are stable. EFT has been used successfully by many different types of couples in private clinics, college training centers, and hospital clinics. The preliminary study is for couples suffering from depression, trauma-induced anxiety, medical illness, and difficulty forgiving. EFT is used for different cultural groups and educational levels in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Africa, and Asia. It is used for both traditional and non-traditional couples, including same-sex couples.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is EFT different from other types of Couples Therapy?

Emotion Focus Therapy for Couples (EFT) is based on attachment theory, conceptualizing rigid and negative interaction patterns and absorbing negative influences, which are typical characteristics of emotional disconnection and insecure attachment in the couple relationship. It is speculated that the change in EFT does not come from the improvement of perception, catharsis, or the skill itself, but from the formulation and expression of new emotional experiences that change the nature of the interactive drama, especially when it is related to the needs of attachment and emotions.

Is EFT a structured approach to Couples Therapy?

EFT is based on humanistic and systematic principles to help build more secure attachments in relationships. The model combines the internal perspective provided by the experiential method with the perspective of the interpersonal system to help troubled couples shape emotional accessibility, responsiveness, and participation, the key elements of attachment security. The EFT process has three stages. The first stage, the cycle of de-escalation, helps the couple understand how their negative interactions drive a cycle of self-reinforcing pain. By the end of this stage, the couple had internalized the problem that their self-reinforcing cycle was related to the breakdown of attachment, which led to a redefinition of the problem as their negative cycle. The second stage, the restructuring interactions, involves the formation of new core emotional experiences and new interactions that lead to more secure connections. Encourage partners to discuss and share their weaknesses and attachment needs with partners in a focused and structured way. These events created a new constructive cycle of contact and care and promoted a secure attachment. The third stage of EFT, Consolidation, involves helping couples use their more secure attachment bonds and enhanced relationship functions to solve their daily problems and create a history of resilience and dominance in their relationship. EFT couples therapy also uses the same 5-step process as EFT personal and family therapy to promote change.

How many sessions do we need?

EFT is a short, short-term treatment that usually takes 8 to 20 sessions to allow a couple to pass through the three stages. According to experience, the first stage, de-escalation, generally requires 75% of the total number of sessions for a couple to de-escalate their emotional distress when triggered and reliably create emotional safety outside of the therapy office. Once this happens, the second stage, restructuring interactions, will use all but a few remaining sessions to set aside for the final stage to consolidate the benefits. Various confounding variables will increase the number of sessions required.

What training is required for professionals to practice EFT?

The use of EFT is limited to health care providers who have completed training appropriate to their professional mandates. Many professionals receive and refine their training through continuing education workshops.

You may find local associations in your state which include psychologists, dentists, medical doctors or nurses, counselors, social workers, and marriage and family therapists with training in hypnotherapy. Your primary care physician may also be an excellent referral source.