Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy

Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples is a highly effective, evidence-based treatment for couples in distress. EFT is an integration of several theoretical models:

From person-centered therapy, EFT draws the recognition that both partners’ thoughts, feelings, sensations and behavior are worthy of attention and exploration. Our moment-by-moment experience of the world comprises our reality, and needs to be honored. Though we are sure to disagree with our partner at times, each partner’s experience is always respected in EFT.

From systems theory, EFT draws the insight that neither of you is the villain of your collective distress. It’s common for people to begin therapy believing their spouse is the problem. But EFT teaches us to notice how both partners unwittingly contribute to harmful patterns of interaction. In EFT, couples grasp how they co-create their unhappiness — and how they can work together to change it.

From contemporary emotion theory, EFT draws the insight that emotions are adaptive responses that prepare us to meet the challenges of the world. All of our emotions are potentially helpful, and certainly “make sense” when seen from the correct perspective. While honoring the responses each of you has right now, we’ll also expand your range, so that each of you can take full advantage of the adaptive power of all your emotions.

A central goal of EFT is to foster interdependence within the couple relationship — that is, a loving and liberating balance between independence and dependence. This requires equal emphasis on two important principles: 1) a focus on adult attachment — the very human need need for connection, understanding and attunement in primary relationships; and, 2) the crucial human need for each member of the couple to be able clearly express his or her own unique and independent truth.

This form of therapy is both interpersonal and intrapsychic — that is, at some moments in the session I’ll be working very much with one member of the couple, while at other moments the emphasis will be on the in-session interactions between the two of you.

EFT is an experiential and existential therapy. The events that unfold during the course of our sessions aren’t comprised merely of intellectual lessons or “skills” training. If it’s working well, in EFT you will have new experiences that will change the way you think and feel about your partner, your relationship, and your life.