What is Emotionally Focused Therapy (for couples)?

EFT emerged in the 1980 based on the science on adult attachment and bonding. Initially, researchers intended to expand our understanding about what is happening in couple relationships and to guide therapists.


Subsequently, a large body of research has shown the effectiveness of this therapy. In summary, studies found that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and about 90% show significant improvements. Additional information on research on EFT: click here.

Where is EFT indicated?

Relationship counsellors have successfully used it with many different kinds of couples. This includes couples with many kinds of problems and many different cultural groups throughout the world. For example, poor communication, sexual problems, fights over money or parenting. Furthermore, distressed couples include partners suffering from mental health disorders such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorders and anxiety. However, the major situation where couple therapy is not recommended is on-going abuse in the relationship

Strengths of EFT

  • Clear, explicit conceptualizations of marital distress and adult love.
  • Strong empirical research on the nature of marital distress and adult attachment.
  • Collaborative with and respectful of clients.
  • Change strategies and interventions are specified in the training manuals.
  • Key moves and moments in the change process have been mapped into nine steps and three change events.
  • A system validated by over 20 years of scientific research. There is also research on the change processes and predictors of success.
  • Application to many different kinds of problems and populations.


  • Expanding and re-organizing key emotional responses – the music of the attachment dance.
  • Creating a shift in partners’ positions with each other and initiating new cycles of interaction.
  • Fostering the creation of a secure bond between partners.
Sue Johnson, the founder of EFT

Three leading Australian Psychologists explain EFT

For more information go to the site of the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy. Dr Thomas Dellmann is a certified Therapist. To learn more about certified Therapists in Australia go to the Australian Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy