Emotion Focused Therapy

Emotion Focused Therapy is a structured approach to couples’ therapy which was formulated in the 1980’s by Professor Susan Johnson, a clinical psychologist based in Ottawa, Canada. EFT was developed alongside the science on adult attachment and bonding to expand our understanding about what is happening in couple relationships and to guide therapists.

Sue Johnson and her colleagues have further developed and refined the model and completed numerous studies and EFT is now also used with families and individuals. A substantial body of research outlining the effectiveness of EFT now exists. Research studies find that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and approximately 90% show significant improvements.

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 attachment.
  • 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.

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


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