Deepening Emotional Experience and Restructuring the Bond in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy
Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) is based on the powerful role which emotion plays in intimate relationships. The word emotion is based on the Latin word emovere, “to move.” In the Stage 1 change event of EFT– de-escalation – therapists focus on clarifying how emotion organizes a couple’s typical pattern of interaction (see Clarifying the Negative Cycle in Emotionally Focused Therapy, Brubacher and Johnson, this volume). In Stage 2 of EFT, therapists deepen emotional experience using the power of emotion to fuel the two transformative change events of withdrawer re-engagement and blamer softening – thereby reshaping the bond to one of safe connection.
The goal of EFT – reshaping relational distress and insecure attachment into a secure attachment bond – is achieved through deepening attachment emotion and interacting from within that deepened emotional experience. Support from attachment neuroscience shows that deepening and reprocessing emotion in EFT creates secure...
- Coan, J. A., & Maresh, E. L. (2014). Social baseline theory and the social regulation of emotion. In J. J. Gross (Ed.), Handbook of emotion regulation (2nd ed., pp. 22–236). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Ekman, P. (2003/2007). Emotions revealed: Recognizing faces and feelings to improve communication and emotional life. New York: St Martin’s Griffin.Google Scholar
- Frijda, N. H. (1986). The emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Johnson, S. M. (2004). The practice of emotionally focused couple therapy: Creating connection (2nd ed.). New York: Brunner/Routledge.Google Scholar
- Johnson, S. M., & Brubacher, L. L. (2016). Deepening attachment emotion in emotionally focused couple therapy (EFT). In G. Weeks, S. Fife, & C. Peterson (Eds.), Techniques for the couple therapist: Essential interventions (pp. 155–160). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Johnson, S. M., Burgess Moser, M., Beckes, L., Smith, A., Dalgleish, T., Halchuk, R., et al. (2013). Soothing the threatened brain: Leveraging contact comfort with emotionally focused therapy. PLoS One, 8(11), e79314. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0079314.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2016). Attachment in adulthood: Structure, dynamics, and change (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar