Questions About Emotionally Focused Therapy

Questions About Emotionally Focused Therapy

If you and your partner seek couples counseling, you are likely to hear the term “emotionally focused therapy.” You may wonder what, exactly, it means. There are many different techniques involved in couples’ therapy. EFT is one of the most common because it is one of the most effective, often showing results within eight to 20 sessions.

What Are the Advantages of Emotionally Focused Therapy?

Couples often tend to blame each other or themselves for their problems. They may fear that the therapist will side with one or the other. EFT takes an approach that shifts the blame from the couple or either partner to the patterns of negativity between them. Therapists who use EFT show clients respect, and the process is collaborative.

When Was Emotionally Focused Therapy Developed?

EFT was developed by Les Greenberg and Sue Johnson in the 1980s. It partially grew out of the work of Fritz Perls and Carl Rogers on humanistic experiential psychotherapies. To identify elements leading to positive change, Johnson and Greenberg conducted task analysis and observation on videos depicting couples in therapy sessions in their development of EFT.

What Is Attachment Theory and How Does It Relate to EFT?

Attachment theory holds that the relationships you form with other people in your earliest infancy inform those that you form as you mature into an adult. If there is a positive pattern of safety and security established between a baby and a parent or other primary caretaker, that pattern will likely carry on into the child’s adult life. However, if the primary caretaker was unavailable, that can cause a baby distress similar to the distress that an adult may feel when involved with an unavailable partner. Identifying and mapping these patterns helps the therapist applying EFT to map each partner’s needs and emotions.

Is Emotionally Focused Therapy Based on Research?

Yes, the effectiveness of EFT has been demonstrated through multiple scientific studies. MRI studies of the brain reveal a biological basis for attachment theory in the behavior of the amygdala.

The amygdala is a structure of the brain known as the fear center. It is calm when the brain receives information that is familiar. However, when a possible threat is perceived, the anxiety level increases and the amygdala triggers the fight-or-flight response as a means of self-preservation. To cope with distressing stimuli, the brain often reverts back to the coping mechanisms used during childhood. This is how destructive relational patterns begin to form.

Fortunately, however, human beings are not irretrievably locked into the negative relational patterns formed in childhood. Emotionally focused therapy with an anxiety therapist in Palatine, IL seeks to identify these patterns with the ultimate goal of changing them. Contact a clinic for more information.

Thanks to Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into counseling and emotionally focused therapy.