The Steps and Stages of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples
Stage One - Stabilization (assessment and de-escalation)
Assessment: Delineate conflict issues. Assess how these issues express core conflicts in the areas of separateness/ connectedness and dependence/ independence.
Identify the negative interaction pattern or cycle.
Dive more deeply into and feel and share the emotions underlying and fueling each partners position in the cycle.
Develop an understanding and experience of the problem (reframe) in terms of the cycle, the underlying emotions driving the cycle and the attachment needs which are normal and longing to be meant.
Stage Two - Bonding
Delve into and identify disowned needs and aspects of self that have been hidden for each partner.
Promote acceptance of these tender and hidden parts, aspects of self and new ways of relating.
Facilitate the expression of needs and wants, and restructure the interaction to create true emotional engagement.
Stage 3 - Consolidation of Change
Facilitate the emergence of new solutions to old problematic relationship issues.
Consolidate new positions and cycles of emotional closeness and attachment.
“EFT now has more than 20 positive outcome studies, nine studies of exactly how change occurs, and four follow-up studies showing that changes made in eight to 20 sessions of therapy last and even increase over a three-year period. We have a brain-scan study showing how bonding conversations impact how clients’ brains respond to threat, and a study showing that EFT not only impacts factors such as relationship distress, intimacy, trust and the forgiveness of injuries, but also an individual partner’s attachment style – that is, their orientation to and sense of safety and engagement in close relationships.” Dr. Sue Johnson