Couples Work

“The only thing I ever struggled with in my relationships is my own intolerance.”


What is Emotionally Focused Therapy
and how might it help?

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a structured approach to couple therapy originally formulated in the early 80’s by Drs. Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg. EFT is also used with families and individuals. Dr. Johnson further developed EFT to blend attachment theory with systems theory and experiential therapy and there now exists a substantial body of research outlining its effectiveness. Research studies find that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and approximately 90% show significant improvements.

The major contraindication for EFT is on-going violence in the relationship. EFT is being used with many different kinds of couples in private practice, university training centers and hospital clinics and many different cultural groups throughout the world. These distressed couples include partners suffering from disorders such as depression, post traumatic stress disorders and chronic illness.

Strengths of Emotionally Focused Therapy:

  • EFT is based on clear, explicit conceptualizations conceptualizations are supported by empirical research on the nature of marital distress and adult attachment.
  • EFT is collaborative and respectful of clients, combining experiential Rogerian techniques with structural systemic interventions.
  • Change strategies and interventions are specified. Key moves and moments in the change process have been mapped into nine steps and three change events.
  • EFT has been validated by 30 years of empirical research. There is also research on the change processes and predictors of success.
  • EFT has been applied to many different kinds of problems and populations.

Visit the EFT Research page at for more information.

What frequently happens in relationships (this can include friends, family and co-workers; not just intimate partners) is we get caught in destructive interactional patterns that tend to feed on themselves into a negative spiral. In an attempt to get closer to our partner, we say and do things that actually can drive them away or get them upset. EFT has a map for how humans connect. I also blend other modalities like Hakomi, Gestalt and ProcessWork into the couples work for maximum effectiveness.

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