Couples Counseling Method

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)

Short Term. Evidence Based. Effective. Collaborative.

Both In-Person and Online Sessions Available

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is best known as a cutting edge, tested and proven method for couple intervention. Originally formulated in the early 1980s, it is based on clear, explicit research and, today, it is also used to address depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to repair family bonds. EFT pays close attention to the power of emotions and the human need for love and connection.

Emotionally Focused Therapy prioritizes emotion. That’s because emotion regulation is a key organizing principle in human experience and relationship interaction. As a method, EFT recognizes that love is all about connection and emotional bonding and when these are at risk, our most important human relationships become distressed.

EFT is also a humanistic and non-pathologizing approach. The focus is to help identify and change negative patterns. This helps reduce reactive behaviors between partners. Key ingredients for restoring love in a relationship include identifying and transforming the three critical relational moments that foster connection; being open, being attuned and being responsive to each other.

Most EFT research to date has focused on couples and it is considered the Gold Standard for empirically validated interventions in this field. New research has created Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT) and Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) which are now internationally accepted modalities for individuals and families.

All of the EFT models are safe and empirically validated. For example, EFT couples counseling is structured, highly effective, and consists of key change strategies mapped into three Stages and nine Steps. The standard is typically 12-20 sessions; more if there is trauma. With EFFT/family therapy, 2-3 sessions can be sufficient to improve or even resolve a current issue.

At Wellness Counseling Center we find 16 sessions to be optimal for most of our clients.

The EFT model is evidence based and effective at improving communication. There’s a substantial body of research outlining the effectiveness of EFT showing that 70-75% of partners move from distress to recovery and approximately 90% show significant improvement. This method is effective with many different kinds of people including those with partners suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD and chronic illness.

There are a few contraindications for participating in EFT and they include anything that would block safe engagement between partners — for example, an ongoing affair, active addiction or violence in the relationship. As a method, Emotionally Focused Therapy is collaborative and respectful of clients. It has key moves and moments of change. Our clients know we don’t sit around, talk and sip coffee together for years — EFT moves quickly and has been validated by over 20 years of empirical research.

We’re happy to report that through the pandemic, we’ve discovered EFT therapy online is remarkably effective, however, for families, we still believe in-office sessions bring about the best results.

“Do I matter to you? Will you be there for me when I need you? Can I feel safe and secure enough in this relationship to be my full, authentic self?”

Is Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) right for me?

Here are some indicators that your relationship is distressed and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) can help:

  • You feel distant from your partner and want to connect.
  • You are overwhelmed or exhausted from trying to fix.
  • You feel frustrated by not having the kind of relationship you want.
  • You long for more trust, connection and intimacy with your partner.
  • You want the fighting and bickering to stop.
  • You are tired and feel you have little to show for it.
  • You feel unsupported but don’t want to leave the relationship.
  • You want to clarify your purpose, goals and dreams within the relationship.
  • You know your partner cares but you feel invisible and unheard.
  • You want to matter to your partner. You want to know you are important.
  • You want to enjoy life with your partner again.

What can EFT Therapy do for my relationship and/or my family?

  • Identify your negative cycle.
  • Identify the triggers that keep your negative cycle in place and keep you stuck.
  • Promote openness and availability.
  • Help you tune in to your partner and those you love.
  • Help others tune in to you.
  • Facilitate meaningful conversations that bring you closer.
  • Help you discover new patterns of interaction.
  • Improve and heighten respect and understanding.
  • Create a secure bond.


We love working with people who want to understand themselves better, and make positive, proactive change. If your partner can’t join you, we will happily see you individually.