Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) is a type of therapeutic approach that focuses on strengthening the bonds between people in close relationships, like, in couples and families. It is often used with couples and with families, but can also be used with individuals.
Who Would Benefit from Emotion-Focused Therapy?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the categories of people who benefit most from EFT.
Couples with relationship difficulties
EFT is well-known for its effectiveness in circumstances of relationship difficulty and breakdown. A therapist who is trained in the EFT model works with the couple to identify specific moments where the couple’s relationship feels threatened.
Every now and again in most close relationships, small issues can sometimes escalate into very big arguments when one or both members of the couple misinterpret the other person’s feelings or intentions. For example, when one partner has repeatedly asked the other to put their shoes in the closet and the shoes remain in the hall, that person might wonder if the request is being ignored because of a lack of care.
The EFT therapist helps each member of the couple to talk openly about the impact of their perceptions, and to empathize with the other person’s perspective. The therapist helps each member of the couple to feel safe enough to share their feelings, and the couple is given tools to help foster better communication outside of the therapy room. Research shows that couples can benefit greatly from this kind of recalibration of their relationship, allowing them to develop a better understanding and appreciation of each other.
People Recovering from Childhood Trauma
Childhood trauma, whether it be emotional, physical, sexual, or a combination, can have long-lasting consequences that extend well into adulthood. Seeking help can be intimidating for sufferers, as there may be intertwined feelings of shame. EFT helps to address and re-frame these feelings, allowing the person to move forward with a more positive mindset.
An EFT therapist will work with the individual to validate and support the feelings that are contributing to the ongoing pain. Often, these include tremendous feelings of hurt and betrayal, which can have significant impacts on trust and intimacy. An EFT therapist will help to improve a client’s ability to cope with intense emotions and get more of their emotional needs met more of the time.
People Living with Depression
Depression can be debilitating, bringing forward feelings of emptiness, frustration, anger, chronic apathy, and loss of identity. EFT helps people living with depression by improving their ability to manage moments of intense emotion more effectively so they can focus on taking actions that are more likely to result in positive emotions.
Effective treatment of depression has been shown to reduce the chances that depression will return.
Bereavement is a complicated process, tied in with an array of conflicting emotions. The stages of grief may not always flow as expected, and people can become ‘stuck’ in negative patterns of thought and action.
Therapists use EFT techniques to help patients identify the feelings surrounding their loss and work through them to accept what has happened, express their emotions honestly, and move forward constructively. Grief is a perfectly normal part of life, and it can be overcome with good support.
Families Experiencing Conflict
Not everything runs smoothly in family life, particularly as children transform into adolescents with their own ideas, which can be at odds with those of their parents!
Family conflict needn’t escalate to the point of breakdown. EFT techniques help family members to understand one another, appreciate different perspectives, and learn how to cope with differences of opinion in the future.
Ready to try Emotion-Focused Therapy? Arrange a consultation with one of our skilled psychologists.