Couples Therapy & Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)

Professor Susan Johnson’s Emotion Focused Therapy approach is at the core of my work with clients in relationship difficulties. EFT is a structured approach to relationship work which has been developed alongside neuroscience studies on adult attachment and bonding, over the last 25 years. The EFT model is used with families, couples and individuals and is now an established, evidence-based approach. Research studies find that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and approximately 90% show significant improvements when they work with an EFT trained therapist.

Strengths of Emotionally Focused Therapy

  • EFT is based on clear, explicit conceptualizations of marital distress and adult love. These conceptualizations are supported by empirical research on the nature of marital distress and adult
  • EFT is collaborative and respectful of clients combining experiential Rogerian techniques with structural systemic interventions.
  • Change strategies and interventions are specified.
  • Key moves and moments in the change process have been mapped into nine steps and three change events.
  • EFT has been validated by over 20 years of empirical research. There is also research on the change processes and predictors of success.
  • EFT has been applied to many different kinds of problems and populations.

An Example of the EFT Change Process

“In a therapy session, a husband’s numb withdrawal expands into a sense of helplessness, a feeling of being intimidated. He begins to assert his need for respect and, in doing so, becomes more accessible to his wife. He moves from “There is no point in talking to you. I don’t want to fight.” to “I do want to be close. I want you to give me a chance. Stop poking me and let me learn to be there for you.” His wife’s critical anger then expands into fear and sadness. She can now ask for and elicit comfort. She moves from “You just don’t care. You don’t get it.” to “It is so difficult to say – but I need you to hold me – reassure me – can you?”

New cycles of bonding interactions occur and replace negative cycles such as pursue-withdraw or criticize-defend. These positive cycles then become self-reinforcing and create permanent change. The relationship becomes a safe haven and a healing environment for both partners.

Sue Johnson has written 2 books for the general public on loving relationships, “Hold Me Tight” and “Love Sense”. Both are available on Amazon.

Client Testimonial

“We owe you a huge debt of gratitude for helping us to save our marriage. Your knowledge and use of EFT for discernment counselling, and ultimately for us, couples counselling, gave us the feeling of both being heard and understood during a tough time in our marriage. You were incredibly flexible during our sessions…we are grateful for that and very much respect your professional values of focussing on the client. Your empathy and sensitivity to both of us made us feel safe and accepted, which hugely helped us feel empowered to talk about how we were really feeling. Also, your perseverance with EFT techniques have transformed our communication style! This has given us a platform for a much happier, more honest and clearly communicated marriage. Thank you so much, for being the light guiding us through a particularly dark and horrible tunnel in our marriage.”

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