Emotion-Focused Therapy(ETF)


What Is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

So often we forget to understand the basics of ourselves, the emotions we experience, the happy ones, the ones which make us uncomfortable. As the title of our article, today says, we’re going to be talking about emotions and how they play a crucial role in therapy. 

We’d be talking in detail about Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT), which is a therapeutic approach and a guide that says emotions are a key to individualistic choices and decision-making as well. This therapy believes that lacking emotional awareness or avoiding uncomfortable emotions can cause harm. Therapists who are qualified to do EFT can help individuals seeking therapy for multiple reasons. They can help individuals to learn more about themselves. 

It is a type of short-term therapy that is used to improvise attachment and bonding in adult relationships. This therapy was developed by two doctors Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg in the 1980s and roots in research on love as an attachment bond. 

Techniques Used

There are three stages of EFT:


This step focuses on identifying the negative patterns(for interaction) which contribute to conflict and identifying negative emotions related and hence reframing these issues. This process helps in understanding how a couple’s insecurities and fears may be devaluing the relationship. 

In this, couples learn different techniques to be emotionally available to their partners, be more empathetic and engage with each other as it strengthens the bond between them and gives them a safe space. Partners start to view undesirable behaviors like shutting down or angry conversations as ‘disconnecting’. EFT helps them reflect and change. 


In this stage, both the partners learn to share their emotions and have an attitude of acceptance and compassion. This helps in becoming more responsive to each other’s needs. This process attempts to reduce the conflicts between the couple and creates a secure emotional bond. Couples learn techniques to express deep emotions and ask for their needs to be met. 


As we reach the final stage, this is the stage where partners learn to work on the strategies they’ve learned and practice skills when interacting with each other. This process can immensely help both the partners to see how they’ve changed and how new interaction patterns help in preventing conflict. When new sequences of bonding interaction occur, it replaces the old, negative patterns like ‘criticize and defend’. The new, positive cycles become the permanent change. The relationship then becomes a place for healing for both partners. 


Therapists practice a compassionate, non-judgemental, and reflective approach toward listening and questioning. This allows the individuals to come to terms with their own emotions. Afterward, different techniques are used for emotion coaching. These help individuals to learn new, healthy ways to use emotions to guide their behaviors and actions. 

Initial sessions of online therapy focus on helping the individuals to arrive at their emotions. Goals are often included in these sessions, such as;

  • Become aware of emotions
  • Learn to welcome, allow and regulate emotions
  • Learn to name emotions with clarity and detail
  • Increase awareness about the experiences and learn to identify

The second phase of therapy focuses on leaving. For instance;

  • Evaluate whether these emotions are helpful or unhelpful in various situations
  • Learn to use these emotions to further guide behavior and action
  • Identify the origin of these unhelpful emotions
  • Learn techniques to change the unhelpful emotions
  • Develop alternative, new healthy ways of coping with situations

What EFT Can Help With

EFT can benefit individuals struggling with conflict, distress, and poor communication. As often used with couples, EFT is proved to be effective in individual therapy and family therapy as well. 

This therapy is effective in improving emotion-related issues. It can also help family members to have a more secure and strong bond with each other. 

Individuals who benefit from EFT may also be struggling with:

EFT is also proved to be effective in therapy for couples dealing with infidelity or other traumatic issues, both past and recent. It’s also seen that attachment theory and EFT have been intersected by Neuroscience. 

EFT is often used in different kinds of practices, for instance, private practice, university training centers, and clinics. It’s also useful in different cultural groups throughout. 

Things to Consider

It can be quite challenging as this therapy focuses on exploring the uncomfortable emotions and patterns in the individuals. The whole process of therapy may lead to difficult or intense emotions in individuals, which can be challenging to accept, regulate and change. 

It’s also crucial for individuals to understand that participation is the key to this therapy. EFT may not be as effective as you seem if one person is less willing to try or participate in therapy. 

Because of insecure attachment, any sort of separation or distance is considered a danger. Losing the spark or connection to a loved one can threaten our sense of security. 

Due to this, individuals go into a self-preservation mode and rely on the things they did to ‘Survive” or cope in childhood. This is the cause for individuals who are often triggered in adult relationships to repeat unhealthy patterns. While this can be challenging initially, EFT can help replace these patterns with more helpful and healthy ones.

Seeking help is a sign of courage. Don't let self-limiting beliefs hold you back from a life you deserve. Avail online therapy to become happier and better. Learn how

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