"A relationship is a dance - and the rhythms and habitual steps of the dance have their own momentum - can take over. In EFT we look at the dance you are caught in and how it leaves you both hurting and frustrated. We help you step out of your negative dance and create a new dance that is safer, closer and more satisfying. We talk about emotions a lot because they are the music of the dance - we help you understand the signals you send that might make it hard for your partner to come close and help you send new emotional signals that pull your partner towards you and help you dance together - in harmony."
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) is a structured approach to couples therapy that is based on the science of adult love and bonding (attachment). Developed in the 1980’s by Drs. Susan Johnson and Les Greenberg, EFT is a highly researched, effective and evidence-based theory that helps couples understand and respond to each other’s needs. EFT concepts have been validated by over 20 years of empirical research as well as research on the process of change and predictors of relationship success.
Studies show that 70-75% of couples working with an EFT therapist move from relationship distress to recovery during the course of therapy. Approximately 90% show significant improvements. The results of EFT therapy tend to be robust and long lasting, something that other modalities of couples therapy cannot claim.
How EFT Works
When we can’t find a safe, loving way to stay connected to our partner we go into a state of emotional pain and alarm. We automatically respond by protesting or withdrawal (fight or flight) when we feel this fear or panic. Our partner will then often respond with his or her own protest or withdrawal. This cycle is a “neural duet” between partners—they impact each other both physiologically and emotionally creating a feedback loop of negative interactions.
EFT is a systematic map of steps and stages that understands these cycles as the underpinnings of relationship distress. Couples are helped to create nurturance, love and connection in their relationships. Change strategies and interventions are specified within the EFT steps and stages. Couples learn to identify their cycle, the emotions underling the reactions and their parts in the dance as they come up in the session and at home. Couples learn to regulate their emotions and send clear, coherent emotional signals of their needs to their partner. They also learn how to respond in a healthy way to the signals that are sent to them.
Couples begin to actively create a new, positive cycle where they can express their needs and fears and create accessibility and responsiveness. When we can send clear attachment cues we actually pull out partner closer and create the safety, trust and support that we have been yearning for. EFT is a collaborative, experiential model that encourages couples to be involved in the deconstructing of the negative cycle and the creation of a new, secure relationship.
If you are interested in starting EFT Couples Therapy, feel free to reach out by calling 203.226.0464.
Dr. Sue Johnson's Books