San Diego EFT Counselor
EFT - Emotionally Focused Therapy - Couples Therapy

EFT - Emotionally Focused Therapy

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Emotionally Focused Therapy

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is the best approach to couples therapy as validated by significant research.  It is revolutionary in its approach, providing a much different (and much more effective) way to heal relationships than the traditional methods of couples therapy.  EFT offers us both an understanding of what went wrong and why, as well as a process for healing distressed relationships. Through a series of three phases, the therapist leads the couple away from conflict-deadlock into new ways of interacting which repair the damage and strengthen the couples’ bond.

Emotionally Focused Therapy
For more than 15 years, Dr. Sue Johnson, Dr. Les Greenberg and their colleagues have developed and rigorously researched this short-term approach. It is now one of the most clearly delineated approaches in the field of couples therapy and has been endorsed by the American Psychological Association as scientifically proven.

Couples often find themselves having the same fights over and over without any real resolution.  The specific circumstances may be the different each time, but the pattern of the argument and the lack of resolution is the same.  (Alternately, the couple may have only silence left, having burned out on the fighting.)  In short, EFT focuses on uncovering the layers going on beneath the fights.  The reason these fights reoccur and don’t feel resolved is because the partners are missing each other.  There is more going on than just the surface that we see and feel while fighting. 

Emotionally Focused Therapy
For example, when a big fight erupts over “you didn’t put your dishes away,” the anger sparked may feel out of proportion to the circumstance.  That is because it may really be about “I feel like you never listen to me” and, at an even deeper level, the feeling that “I don’t matter to you.”  At the time of the fight, the couple is caught up in the circumstance and the emotions.  They focus on the tree – the unwashed dishes – and miss the forest – “I feel that I don’t matter to you when you don’t listen to me.”  With the therapist’s guidance, the couple is able to see what they are missing and to address those underlying concerns.  Once partners understand and address what is really going on with them, the strong negative emotions dissipate and the couple is able to problem-solve.

EFT is considered a short-term method of therapy, but the change process does not happen overnight; it takes a little time and investment by both partners.  Both partners will go through a learning-curve as they learn to tune in to what is really going on underneath the surface of their fights and then how to interact differently to avoid fights and address the real concerns.  Most importantly, once through the process, the research shows that the change lasts.

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Susannah Muller, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #49050
San Diego Counseling & Therapy
5230 Carroll Canyon Rd., Suite 314, San Diego, CA 92121
(619) 787-2743

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