Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a highly researched and effective therapy for couples, individuals, and families. EFT is based on many years of research that recognizes the importance of safe secure attachment to significant people in one’s everyday life. EFT is a process-oriented approach and has been researched with people from all types of cultures, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations; as well as in couples in which partners suffer from depression, anxiety, severe illness or trauma. Research shows that EFT provides relief from relationship distress in 70-75% of couples, with up to 90% of couples reporting significant improvement in their relationship that lasts. For an in-depth review of the research on EFT, please see ICEEFT’s Summary of EFT Research.

Benefits of EFT

Research shows that the most important aspect of individual functioning is having secure interpersonal connections. These connections are most often found within close family and intimate partnership relationships. The research on attachment for both children and adults has provided a clear relationship between supportive and responsive interactions and feelings of self-efficacy, overall well being, and daily functioning. When in distress people need to be able to turn to their trusted other for support, comfort, and connection. When this is not possible because of relationship breakdown, EFT can provide the support to heal the breaches that prevent safe secure connection.


For couples, the focus of EFT is on recognizing and interrupting the negative interaction pattern that keeps couples stuck in loneliness, misunderstanding and conflict. EFT for couples is a staged model that works in moment by moment processing of couple interactions. Couples are assisted to first understand their negative cycle and identify it in the moment, interrupt it and move into the underlying vulnerable emotions that are not expressed clearly. They are supported to actively reach for their partner in these emotionally vulnerable moments to create new and strong patterns of interactions that support intimacy, emotional connection and couple resiliency. EFT works even when there have been significant breaches in safe interaction such as illness, affairs, and addictions.