Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is usually a short-term (8-20 sessions), structured approach to couples therapy that was formulated in the early 1980's by Dr. Sue Johnson. Since then, Dr. Johnson has further developed the model to blend attachment theory with systems theory and experiential therapy, and there now exists a substantial body of research outlining its effectiveness. Research studies find that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and approximately 90% show significant improvements. The American Psychological Association has accepted EFT as an empirically validated form of treatment. EFT is also used with families and individuals.
Emotion is seen as the transforming element in couples therapy. EFT uses the power of emotion to move partners and evoke new responses in recurring key interactions that make up a couple's relationship "dance." EFT has been successfully used in many different cultures, with a wide range of clients presenting with many different kinds of problems (including depression and chronic illness). EFT is also used effectively with families.
Adult love is viewed through the lens of Bowlby's Attachment Theory in this model. Therefore, dependency needs are not pathologized in EFT. Clients are viewed as the "experts" on their experiences and the EFT therapist: works collaboratively with the couple (- from Becoming an Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist: The Workbook).
For publications regarding EFT visit the Resources page.