Emotionally Focused Therapy

Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) – or emotionally focused couples therapy as it is sometimes known – is a short-term therapy technique focused on adult relationships. EFT seeks to help clients better understand both their own emotional responses and those of significant people in their lives. A therapist using EFT will look for patterns in the relationship and identify methods to create a more secure bond, increase trust, and help the relationship grow in a healthy direction. In a session, the therapist will observe the interactions between clients, tie this behavior into dynamics in the home, and help guide new interactions based on more open feelings. Sometimes, this includes clients discovering more emotions and feelings than they were aware they had. Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of

Meet the specialists

Training in 4-day EFT Externship + Sue Johnson's "Hold Me Tight" Conference and other trainings

— Ciara Braun, Licensed Professional Counselor in Birmingham, MI

We are energetic beings and EFT helps to send signals to the brain energetically to tell the amygdala it no longer needs to activate the fight or flight system in regards to the issue at hand. I have used EFT with many clients to clear out trauma, physical issues, addictions, anxiety, and other emotional issues.

— Jessica Stebbins, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Merritt Island, FL

Using an integrated EFT approach I help couples and individuals identify their primary emotions, work through maladaptive responses, and develop empathy and compassion for themselves and others.

— Alana Ogilvie, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR

I frequently utilize EFT when working with couples in monogamous or open relationships.

— Lacie Rasmussen, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Vancouver, WA

I find that exploring emotions in the moment in session and using them as information about underlying needs and values can be very helpful both with couples therapy and individual work. I have done an in-depth EFT training for individual counseling with Jamie and Charles Edwards, and utilize many of the concepts and techniques of EFT in my integrative approach to therapy.

— Sonia Holdaway, Counselor in Portland, OR

I look at patterns in my clients lives and work to understand their meaning. This work can lead to deeper understanding of what emotions are truly driving the behaviors that bring you into counseling.

— Jodi Lietz, Counselor in Portland, OR

I have extensively studied EFT during my graduate career while completing my masters' thesis. I use emotion-focused therapy as the basis for my work, as I believe emotion guides our thoughts and behaviors. If we can tap into the core emotions we are able to identify an individual basic needs: safety, connection, love, validation, compassion. Using EFT I will guide you through processing the difficult emotions while supporting you in creating a safe space to explore them.

— Kathryn Ewers, Therapist in Germantown, Philadelphia, PA

Emotionally Focused Therapy has been empirically tested and validated as a modality that improves relationship satisfaction well beyond our work together in session. If you're wanting couples counseling, you want someone who specializes in couples work. I strive everyday to help couples to make it work and get out of negative cycles that go around and around!

— Angela Jensen-Ramirez, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Austin, TX

Emotionally focused therapy is designed to address distress in the intimate relationships of adults. Therapists who provide emotionally focused couples therapy typically work with couples and families to help facilitate the creation of secure lasting bonds between intimate partners and family members and reinforce any preexisting positive bonds, with the goal of helping those in treatment increase security, closeness, and connection in intimate relationships.

— Eric Henley, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Mesa, AZ

Sue Johnson's Emotionally-Focused Therapy offers a framework to understand the unmet needs that drive relational stress and reactivity within couples.

— Maya Foster, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Greenbelt, MD

Using EFT with couples can often bring amazing results when the partner of the wounded one, can gain a new perspective and see his or partner's view. This is where true understanding and then compassion, hopefully forgiveness can happen. EFT is all about expanding the view and allow the connection to grow in a safe environment. Many times the safe place is my office. Once a couple gets a "taste" of safety and the need for connection is ignited once again, magic happens.

— Elizabeth Havens, Marriage & Family Therapist in Orlando, FL

I have received specialized post-graduate school training in Emotion- Focused Couples Therapy (EFT). I have found this evidence-based approach to couples work to be a very powerful tool for meaningful change.

— Lindsey Brooks, Psychologist in San Francisco, CA

I am excellent at using EFT in the room because I went to Fuller Theological Seminary and at the time there were few other couples specific and evidence based interventions, it was one of great discussion and interest to me. I worked with Jim Furrow, LMFT, an early and continued expert in the field to learn more about the method. EFT allows clients to have their deep pain heard and quickly get to how clients make meaning of marriage and past traumas.

— Emily Chandler, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

Every relationship experiences problems and conflict. These challenges can be about specific events or may involve ongoing negative patterns. To help my clients overcome these challenges, my work with relationships draws upon what is known as Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). EFT is a structured systems therapy that helps shift negative interactions into positive ones. People in relationships often get caught in negative cycles that eat away at intimacy and a sense of having a loving and trusting relationship. These cycles tend to be self-reinforcing and keep you trapped in hurtful interactions. EFT helps identify these cycles, stop them, and create new ones so you can feel close and connected again. This emotional security and sense of comfort is what ultimately allows you to resolve conflict, communicate better, have more fulfilling sex, and live happier lives. I welcome diverse populations in relationship therapy, including all sexual orientations, genders, and relationship structures (couples, triads, polyamorous and open relationships).

— Smadar Salzman, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA