EFT/Emotion Focused Therapy

Application areas: Transdiagnostic for individuals, couples and families.

Developed by: Sue Johnson, Leslie Greenberg and Robert Elliot in the 1980s.

EFT’s focus is on utilising emotion to facilitate change.

Emotion is viewed as central in functioning, and as the essence of who we are.

Emphasis is placed on adult attachment and bonding. In therapy, emotion is central to the treatment process.

The approach enhances:

  • emotional awareness
  • expression
  • regulation
  • understanding
  • transformation of emotion.

This, together with the development of empathy, is seen as essential for both the individual and his or her relationships with others.

The basics of EFT

EFT evolved from developmental process, with contributions from several movements.

It is client-centred and experiential (inner meaning process). It helps the individual to express reactions to triggers, evoke and process experience and reprocess thinking.

Therapy empowers the patient to determine WHEN to do WHAT to effect resolution, and plots new ways of behaviour, together with how to articulate feelings.

Essentially, EFT addresses the client’s core pain, showing him or her how to process and move through it. The approach also embraces respect for emotions, offers support and facilitates resilience.

The principles for working with emotion are:

  • Increasing emotional awareness
  • Increasing emotional regulation
  • Transforming emotion.

This is done over three phases (assess and de-escalate; change events and consolidation of change).

Videos available on transforming emotional memories: From science to clinical practice/How do you change emotion/Why are emotions important? /What is the role of emotion in distress?/EFT for depression, etc. 

The contact person for EFT training in SA is Dr Elmien Lesch: https://www.eftsouthafrica.com

Resource: iseft.org   https://positivepsychology.com   

Beth Cooper Howell Proof reader/copy editor

Contributions by
Prof David Edwards
Dr Linda Blokland
Matthew Watkin
Edgar Tyrone
Bertus Swanepoel
Dr Shane Pienaar-Du Bruyn