What is Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples?

couple doing tango

How we move with our partners creates a very special relationship dance. Sometimes this dance is healthy, with a secure attachment. And other times not so much.  Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples helps partners to hear the music (or emotion) and follow each other’s moves with exquisite attunement promoting a secure bonding with one another.  Dr. Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples has a 70-75 % recovery rate and a significant improvement rate of 86- 90%.

I did some training this last week with Dr. Johnson in Tampa, Florida.  EFT is a model used for couples therapy that is backed up by over 25 years of research. This model is a mix of experiential, systemic and attachment theories. I was excited to have the opportunity to do training with this talented  researcher and therapist.


The EFT evidence based interventions are powerful in helping couples to be able to re-establish safe emotional connections. Couples learn how to identify and de-escalate negative circular patterns. This repair is done through bonding, emotionally engaged interactions.

This model of therapy is set up to be done in 8 – 20 sessions. Some circumstances will take a longer course of treatment. But in general this is set up to be a short-term counseling model.

I personally like how this model addresses the core issues for couples and helps them to truly hear each other and address their attachment needs within the relationship. EFT is all about building a strong, safe and loving connection between couples. Dr. Johnson feels “empathic responsiveness” is the essence of EFT.

Below is a 20 minute introduction video presented by Dr. Sue Johnson on Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples.



  • If you want to see a listing of the research studies and summarizes on EFT go to www.iceeft.com.
  • Dr. Sue Johnson’s website is: www:drsuejohnson.com . Her books, dvds, blog, etc are located on this website.
  • Dr. Johnson recommends her book Hold Me Tight for couples to read.