Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a therapeutic approach that was developed by 1980’s by Drs. Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg, and is a humanistic form of therapy based on the science of attachment. EFT is considered one of the most empirically validated forms of couples therapy.


Research shows that:

  • 70-75 percent of couples move from distress to recovery. These couples report being much happier with each other (compared to 35 percent for cognitive-behavioral counseling).

  • 90 percent of couples make significant improvements due to EFT.

  • The EFT for couples dropout rate is negligible.


Attachment science is a developmental theory of personality, in other words, we believe it impacts the way our personalities develop and therefore the ways in which we approach our intimate relationships. People must feel emotionally secure in a relationship in order to function well. Therefore, EFT therapy seeks to help the couple understand their individual attachment style and to see how their individual attachment style is manifesting in their relationship interactions. 


There are 3 main stages in EFT couples therapy: 

  • Assessment and De-escalation. In this stage, the goal is to identify negative interaction patterns and unify the couple against the problematic dynamic, moving away from blame and into connection.

  • Changing Interactional Positions and Creating Bonding Opportunities. In this main stage, the goal is to create new cycles of communication. Couples learn to identify and express their attachment needs in productive rather than destructive ways. 

  • Consolidation/Integration. In this last stage, the goal is to cultivate a more secure bond between partners. Couples learn to work together and establish increasing trust, creating a more secure bond. 


While EFT is primarily a couples therapy model, its concepts can be successfully applied to individual and family therapy, particularly to the parent/teen relationships.