Do you recognize this couple? Do they remind you of you?
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a unique empirically-based approach, based on methods designed to help people accept, express, regulate, make sense of and transform emotion. Recent years have seen a growth of EFT in individual and couples therapy, both because of its status as an evidence-based treatment, and also because the EFT approach focuses on the development of emotional intelligence and on the importance of secure relationships. Because of these emphases, EFT offers an alternative to more technically-oriented evidence-based treatments.
Most fundamentally, emotions tell us what is important to us in a situation and thus act as a guide to what we need or want. This, in turn, helps us to figure out what actions are appropriate. Emotions are basically adaptive and guide attachment as well as the tendency toward growth. EFT focuses on helping people become aware of and express their emotions, learn to tolerate and regulate them, reflect on them to make sense of them and transform them. Learning about emotions is not enough; instead, what is needed is for clients to experience those emotions as they arise in the safety of the therapy session, where they can discover for themselves the value of greater awareness and more flexible management of emotions. Emotion-focused therapy systematically but flexibly helps clients become aware of and make productive use of their emotions.