What to Expect from Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)?

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)

Are you at your wits end in your relationship? Tried it “all” to no avail? Just keep butting heads with your partner? Seeking couples therapy can often be both a nerve-wracking and courageous step in getting the help that is needed!  

Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT) helps equip couples with tools to not only improve communication but to create new emotional experiences. EFT is an empirically based model that began in the 80s by none other than Dr. Susan Johnson who has gone on to adapt this model for individual and family use.

    Everyone has their own way of dealing with stress, conflict, and emotions. This is likely due to a combination of our upbringing, gender, past relationship experiences, and our own form of attachment. EFT uses John Bowlby’s attachment theory in tandem with Carl Rogers’ person-centered therapy to create an experiential experience.

You can expect EFT to dive deeper into the attachment history to help each member of the couple not only understand each other better but to explore the underlying emotions that may be felt in the heat of the moment. 

Have you ever wondered “where did that come from?,” or “Nothing I do or say is right at this moment?” Our ways of coping with stressors similar to these questions may in fact be a trigger to our partner unintentionally. There may be something more here just beneath the surface.

Discussing Emotions

What good will talking about my emotions do, you might ask? Did you know that we as human beings have such complexity of emotions? In fact, we have primary AND secondary emotions. The English language alone has hundreds of words to express emotions. However, there are six core emotions that can be identified with ease over cultural and racial boundaries.

  • Anger
  • Joy
  • Sadness
  • Surprise
  • Shame
  • Fear

Primary Emotions

Primary Emotions are best described as deep emotions we feel vulnerable sharing. These can often go unacknowledged and cause us to feel unheard in the midst of arguments.

Secondary Emotions

Secondary Emotions are the emotions that are easily seen on the surface. The most common secondary emotion is anger. It can cause us to protect ourselves by lashing out or even creating distance with our partner. These secondary emotions often don’t express how we truly feel. 

Breaking the Cycle

The cycle of hurt and turmoil doesn’t have to stay the way it is. A couple can change the cycle by attuning to each other and actively participating in a different dance. This new TANGO can lead to deeper connections and help heal both members of the relationship. 

Through EFT each partner becomes more Accessible, Responsive, and Emotionally engaged with one another.

“Couples that learn how to repair in disconnection have the strongest relationships.” George Faller

Research tells us that strong, attached relationships reduce feelings of fear and help calm the brain. Essentially, helping our partners to co-regulate, and be a safe place for them. Complete emotional vulnerability and safety won’t happen overnight. Whatever has happened up until this point has been a part of the cycle for however long for a reason. Whether that be out of fear, protection, or even uncertainty. EFT will help you understand your partner better and maybe even yourself. 

Understanding our emotions can be a daunting task, but luckily you don’t have to do it alone! Restoration’s Emotionally Focused Therapy trained and informed clinicians can help you emotionally process those uncomfortable feelings and help send clear communication signals to your partner. Our goal after all is in the name….Restoration.



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