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Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT)

Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) argues that emotions are a key source of information about what is important and meaningful in our relationships, and our world, and in this way emotions shape our responses to the world around us. EFT therapy helps clients figure out whether their emotion system is malfunctioning and whether they are ignoring or suppressing the valuable information carried by unpleasant feelings.

Emotion-Focused Therapy is based on the principle that clients need to reclaim disowned experiences before they can change. In this process, people become aware of aspects of themselves they may not consciously have felt before because, usually because they avoided the discomfort and pushed away those emotions. In EFT these emotions are used to identify and ultimately overcome unresolved aspects of experiences that cause distress.

What does Emotion-Focused Therapy look like in practice?

Emotion-Focused Therapy consists of four stages:

  1. Creating awareness and acceptance of primary emotions.

  2. Learning to tolerate your emotions and to control self–defeating behaviours.

  3. Transforming emotions by facing rather than avoiding them.

  4. Emotional reflection. Reflection can either be conveyed verbally or through writing. Emotional reflection promotes emotional awareness, which is vital for positive change.

What issues is Emotion-Focused Therapy best at addressing?

Studies have shown that Emotion-Focused Therapy is effective in treating anxiety, depression, abuse sufferers, eating disorders, interpersonal problems, and in promoting forgiveness.

Read more on Emotion-Focused therapy here.