Emotion-Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT-C)

Emotion-Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT-C) is a scientifically supported form of couples therapy that focuses on emotions, emotional needs, and problematic patterns of interaction between partners.

Relationship difficulties and problems result from hurt or unmet attachment needs (e.g., for closeness, security, reliability) or identity needs (e.g., for being seen, recognition, appreciation). The resulting painful emotions (fear, shame, loneliness) and the unfavorable way of dealing with them (e.g. criticism, attack or withdrawal and stonewalling) lead to the establishment of a negative interactional circle between the partners. This vicious circle is an impasse in which the partners build each other up (the more one person criticizes, the more the other person withdraws. The more one person withdraws, the more the other person criticizes). The way the partners try to deal with their hurt feelings becomes the real problem.

Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy addresses the painful emotions and frustrated needs that underlie this negative interactional cycle. Its goal is to restore safety and intimacy between the partners by identifying and changing the negative interaction pattern. In a warm and safe therapeutic setting, partners are invited to attend to their painful emotions in order to deal with them in a different way. Emotions drive our behavior. When emotions change, behavior (e.g., communication) changes as well.

Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy has been studied in numerous empirical studies and has proven to be one of the most effective methods to solve difficulties and problems in the partnership in the long term.