Emotionally focused therapy is a short-term therapy model that improves attachment and bonding in relationships. It shows the emotional bond we create with others and how it helps shape our well-being and influence our relationships. EFT explores underlying emotions and attachment needs and helps you develop deeper connections by establishing healthy communication patterns. 

What is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

Emotionally focused therapy is a form of psychotherapy that has proven effective in helping individuals, couples, or families navigate their unhealthy emotions. This therapy helps treat the harm caused by suppressed emotions and makes an individual emotionally aware to avoid unpleasant situations. Emotions play a crucial role in decision-making as they guide an individual’s choice. This therapy includes elements of different therapies, like systemic therapy, and attachment theory. This therapy is more couple-oriented. 

How does the therapy work? 

This treatment approach allows individuals to collaborate with a therapist in an active session where both contribute equally. The therapist will navigate your emotions, and listen to them with compassion instead of telling you what they interpret of your emotions. They will not pass any judgment on your feelings but use a reflective approach while asking questions. At the end of therapy, your awareness and acceptance of emotions will increase. Couples will learn how to navigate emotions into helpful information to prevent any negative outcome

After being aware of one’s emotions, the therapist will guide you to evaluate your emotions in various situations, whether they’re helpful or not. Individuals will learn to identify the source of unhealthy emotions and change them. They’ll develop healthy coping mechanisms for negative outcomes. Individuals will also learn to use emotions to guide their actions.

EFT techniques comprise three stages spread across nine steps, which help the therapist keep track of the progress. 

De-Escalation: where the therapist focuses on finding out the negative interaction patterns that lead a couple to fight. This negativity can be related to attachment issues. This step helps couples understand their insecurities and how they affect their relationship. They learn how to be emotionally available, empathetic, and engaged with each other by creating a space that is safe for them. 

Restructuring: this stage makes the couple understand how to share their emotions and express compassion by accepting their partner wholeheartedly. Creating a secure emotional bond will reduce the chances of conflict and allow you to express deep underlying emotions. 

Consolidation: the therapist in the last stage helps them learn new communication strategies and apply interaction skills. The couples see how much they’ve changed and to what extent the new communication pattern prevents conflict. 

Beneficiaries of Emotionally focused therapy

If you feel like your suppressed emotions are harming your well-being and hampering your relationships, then emotionally focused therapy will help you. This therapy primarily focuses on understanding and addressing emotions to improve relationships. EFT is also adapted to cater to family and individual issues. It helps individuals struggling with emotional regulation understand and manage their emotions better, which will reduce their depression, anxiety, and stress. Family members can also benefit from the therapy to build a more secure bond. 

Outcomes of Emotionally Focused therapy

  • Couples will learn a new language where they can form a healthy dependency between themselves and organize their emotional responses towards each other. 
  • They will grow a strong bond by creating a safe space with security, comfort, and a place away from stress. 
  • Partners become aware of each other’s needs, they start actively listening and discussing problems instead of creating more problems. 
  • EFT allows individuals to build better relationships by improving their interactions, which will reduce the chances of relapse. 

Key considerations 

Before you start emotionally focused therapy, you should consider certain factors, as it involves a deep dive into negative emotions and patterns that cause conflict in a relationship. For this therapy to work effectively everyone in the family or both partners need to be prepared and fully participate in the process. Losing the sense of connection to your loved one can trigger unwanted feelings, and you may adapt unhealthy coping mechanisms to tackle that. The sense of security is threatened by fading relationships. 

Looking forward

A therapist in an EFT session actively listens to the problems and takes up the role of guide in that conversation. They navigate the couple as they walk through the process of learning new ways to interact. Unlike other therapy sessions where the therapist passively listens to your queries, an EFT therapist will proactively be present with you. This approach caters to emotions and interactions in the session and helps with organizing their emotions. They help the couple realize the negative patterns that caused conflict in their relationships and make them aware of each other’s feelings. If this type of help and support is required for you then you can search for an EFT-trained therapist and book a trial session with them.