Emotion focused therapy (EFT)

Emotion focused therapy (EFT) was developed primarily by Dr. Leslie Greenberg, PhD. EFT is a therapy that assumes emotions can be a healing source. EFT has been found effective for individuals who suffer from moderate depression, childhood abuse or deprivation and various general problems such as interpersonal issues. EFT has also been found effective for couples in distress. Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) was developed to help individuals resolve unpleasant emotions by working with those emotions instead of suppressing them and is based on the belief that unpleasant emotions are sources of useful information. EFT focuses on the constructive aspects of specific emotions, primarily in the present rather than the past. EFT hones in on how problems happen and not just why they occur while emphasizing the importance of past interpersonal relationships as well as the self.

Emotion-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.

EFT Works

EFT works on the basic principle that to change, people cannot leave a place until they have arrived. Clients therefore need to reclaim disowned experience before they can be changed by or change that experience. In this process, it is not that people simply discover things they did not know but rather that they become aware of and experience aspects of themselves they have not consciously felt or may have previously disclaimed, dismissed, or pushed away.

Based on emotion, attachment, and growth theory, EFT helps people identify which of their emotions they can trust and rely on as adaptive guides and which of their emotions are residues of painful memories that have become maladaptive to the person’s current context and need to be changed. With the help of the therapist’s empathic understanding and the use of experiential methods, clients learn how to make healthy contact with feelings, memories, thoughts, and physical sensations that have been ignored or feared and avoided. By accessing adaptive emotions such as healthy grief, empowering anger, and compassion, people are able to use these as resources to transform maladaptive emotions such as fear, sadness of abandonment and shame of inadequacy that have developed from past negative learning or traumatic experiences. (Cited from ICEEFT.com)

Private Reflections Counseling uses the techniques of Emotion Focused Therapy or EFT in marriage or couple’s counseling to promote healing, connection, and communication.  Couple’s move closer to each other and are able to successfully renew their bonds in a safe, healing environment with a licensed counselor in our Gainesville, Florida office.