Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a method of therapy that promotes feelings of connection and closeness within couples and families. EFT creates safety and security within a relationship that is reliable and constant. These safe and secure attachments to one another are critical to maintaining healthy relationships and improving both our mental and physical health.
In a distressed relationship, we often ask questions like “Are you there for me?” “Can I count on you?” and “If I call, will you come?” When communication breaks down, the answers to these questions can get misunderstood or distorted. EFT focuses on clarifying these misunderstandings and helping develop or rediscover a relationship based on mutual trust and security.
Fights with those we love often activate distressing emotions. We either feel like retreating into our shells or, that we are talking and talking without being heard. EFT sees these behaviors as counterproductive to safe emotional connecting and bonding.
EFT addresses issues at the neurological level. Deep down we all code our experiences and relationships as either safe or dangerous. Perceived distance, separation or potential loss of the relationship is interpreted as danger, and triggers our brain’s innermost functions, those which process fear.
EFT directs us away from our “fight-or-flight” reactions and away from the “content issues” (who-did-what-to-whom, he-said-she-said, etc.) and towards the feelings, emotions and needs that lie beneath.
The EFT therapist is involved and collaborative. She works to stop the negative cycle and to maintain emotional safety. The therapist and couple work together as a team to reduce distressing interactions and to create a positive emotional cycle, ensuring a secure base and a safe haven that protects us from our fears about the self and the world.