Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a short-term form of therapy that focuses on adult relationships and attachment/bonding. Together, the clients and therapists examine patterns in the relationship and create a plan to secure the bond and develop significant trust in the relationship.
An EFT therapist observes the dynamics between clients in the therapy setting, ties this behavior to the dynamics in their home lives, and helps direct new conversations and interactions based on more honest feelings. In order to accomplish this, the therapist encourages you to look at your current emotional issues and then assists you in discovering emotions that you may not realize you have. You may discover deeper past feelings and vulnerabilities that are blocked by the more immediate emotions you display in your current relationship. You will learn to express these emotions in a way that will help you connect, rather than disconnect with your partner or family member. You will learn new ways to listen and discover more productive ways to respond to emotional situations.
EFT focuses on the present in order to make changes in the here and now. There are three steps, or stages, of EFT.
- De-escalate: Reduce the confrontation in the relationship and the negative cycle of interactions in order to see and understand what is happening in the relationship.
- Restructure interactions: The therapist helps clients discuss their fears in the relationship, using language that doesn’t push the other away. Clients learn to turn toward each other and discuss their needs and they become more open and responsive to each other.
- Consolidation: Here the therapist helps clients see how they got into negative patterns and points out how they were able to change those patterns and can continue these types of conversations in the future.