In EFT, the relationship itself is the client. Couples can get into ineffective behavioural patterns of how they relate to one another. EFT posits that there are reasons for why these behaviours exist, and therapy involves uncovering these reasons.
EFT is based in attachment theory. Our attachment style comes from the relationships we had with our primary caregivers. As we develop, these attachment patterns play out in our adult relationships. When we have insecure attachment styles this can lead to relational difficulties. The therapist works to gain a clinical understanding of each person’s attachment style and uses this as a road map to identify a couple’s difficulties. When couples are in trouble, it is because when they argue or disagree, the relationship becomes at risk. The primary goal of EFT is to create a more secure emotional bond between partners, so that difficulties don’t have to threaten the relationship itself. When we increase this security, we increase relational satisfaction, intimacy and trust.
EFT focuses on the present – it delves into what is happening between the couple in the room at present. Focus is on the present process of understanding the emotions and subsequent interactions that occur in real time during the session. The therapist guides each individual to understand their emotional response in the here-and-now so they can understand their emotional experience in a new way. This new understanding of one’s emotional experience, guides behavioural and communication changes.