Emotion-Focused Therapy

Emotion-focused Therapy (EFT) is a humanistic approach, which was developed to help people accept, express, regulate, understand, and learn to transform their emotion. It is used with individuals, couples, and families. It’s effectiveness has been supported by research evidence. It is a very collaborative and experiential approach that has therapist and client working together to understand disowned parts of the client’s experience.

EFT is based on the importance of emotions. This model believes that emotions tell us what is important to pay attention to in any given situation and because of this can then help guide us to what we need/want.  Emotions then guide us to what actions are appropriate for any given situation. This therapy approach sees emotions as adaptive and how they assist with building attachment, as well as move us towards personal growth.

The goal in EFT is to help people learn which of their emotions are healthy and that they can rely on as guides for their experience and which emotions are left over from painful memories that are not helping the client to function in current situations.

Treatment in this model is beyond learning about emotions, it focuses on clients experiencing their emotions in the safety of the session with their therapist. Being able to experience emotions in the session allows the client to build skills and practice being more aware of their emotions and how to understand and use them in more productive ways.

In EFT clients work towards reclaiming disowned parts of their experience. This means that clients become more aware of parts of themselves or their experience that they may not have had an awareness of before. With the assistance of the therapist clients learn how to regulate and understand their feelings, memories, thoughts, and physical sensations that have been previously feared and/or avoided.

Recent years have also seen a growth of EFT into both couples and family therapy as it is focused on both developing emotional intelligence and on the importance of secure and attached relationships.

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