Emotion-focused therapy (EFT; Greenberg et al., 1993; Greenberg, 2002; Greenberg & Johnson, 1988) is a research-informed psychological therapy which draws on the rich humanistic traditions of person-centered, gestalt and systemic therapies. EFT has been developed as a therapy for individuals and for couples; and is currently being developed as a therapeutic intervention for families.
EFT focuses on helping clients access, accept and make sense of their emotional experience.
EFT proposes that emotions are basically adaptive, telling us what is important for our safety and well-being, and thus acting as a guide to what we need or want in any given situation. EFT proposes that the distress which individuals present with in therapy is, to a significant extent, the consequence of past painful life experiences where important emotional needs have not been met, or have been violated. EFT focuses on helping clients access, accept and make sense of their emotional experience. Where the client's emotional experiencing is painful, overwhelming, or 'stuck', the therapist works with the client to identify what he or she needs in order to transform that painful emotional experience, with the ultimate goal of helping the client meet new experience and new relationships in as adaptive and fulfilling a manner as possible.
Throughout its development, EFT has been informed by decades of research into change processes in psychotherapy; in other words, EFT has been developed by looking at what it is in therapy that brings about the changes that clients are looking for.
EFT is an evidence-based therapy.
Throughout its development, EFT has been informed by decades of research into change processes in psychotherapy. In other words, EFT has been developed by looking at what it is in therapy that brings about the changes that clients are looking for. Furthermore, a substantial and growing body of outcome research has also demonstrated that EFT has a lasting and transformative effect (Elliott et al., 2013), with multiple studies showing that it can be an effective intervention for a variety of difficulties including depression, anxiety, complex trauma, interpersonal difficulties and relationship difficulties
Alfred & Shadow - A short story about emotions
By Anne Hilde Vassbø Hagen, produced in conjunction with the Norwegian Institute of Emotion-Focused Therapy