Emotionally Focused Therapy is a research based therapy that is scientifically shown to have long term success for couples. Traditional marriage counseling is based on communication skills, rules of fair fighting, negotiating compromises, date nights, and "homework." However, research and experience has shown that this type of counseling, while somewhat effective in the short term, offers gains that are not sustainable. In fact, some of the tools are simply band-aids.
We now better understand that couples in distress are not suffering from a lack of ability to communicate but, rather, a lack of connection. The fights about the dishwasher are not really about the dishwasher. They are calls for connection, such as:
Do I matter to you?
Can you see me?
Am I important and valuable to you?
Can I ever get it right with you?
Do you see me as competent?
Am I safe with you?
Can I reach you when I need closeness and comfort?
Do you accept me?
We can feel emotionally off balance when we do not feel important or connected to the most valuable person in our life, our intimate partner. Our ability to effectively communicate or follow "rules of fighting fair" go out the window. We no longer care about the rules. We want to be heard and we are in fight or flight mode.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) aims to help couples understand what throws them off balance, identify the underlying issues that are causing distress, create a sense of safety for both partners to be able to turn to one another from a vulnerable place and restore a sense of secure connection and intimacy.
The EFT therapist looks at the dance between partners, as well as the internal struggle and pain of each partner. There is no bad guy in the dance and the therapist does not assign blame. When we understand the underlying pain, we can then understand the behaviors that are keeping the negative dance going and keeping partners distanced and disconnected from one another.
Emotionally Focused Therapists help slow the dance down so the couple can examine the negative cycle together and begin the process of stopping the cycle, beginning to listen and understand one another on a deeper level. Research has consistently shown that this process of change creates deeper and more meaningful connection. EFT offers change that is sustainable long-term.
It is in the shelter of each other that people live. Irish proverb
EFT Knoxville is an organization of clinical therapists dedicated to providing compassionate, quality therapeutic care for individuals, couples and families, using the evidence-based model of Emotionally Focused Therapy.
In addition to helping people heal bonds within their most important relationships, EFT Knoxville serves to be the premier resource for EFT training and support for therapists in our East Tennessee community. Through networking, peer groups, training, externships and supervision services, our goal is to offer resources to help clinicians grow in their practice of Emotionally Focused Therapy.
It is through connection that we grow. Our mission is to connect clients with EFT trained clinicians and connect clinicians with EFT resources and support.