Changing Emotions with Emotions

What Is Emotion Focused Therapy?

Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) has evolved in recent years to have a significant impact on the field of psychotherapy.  Its increasing popularity and the growing support for its efficacy with a wide variety of problems have made EFT an important approach to psychotherapy treatment. Emotion Focused Therapy is an empirically-supported humanistic treatment that views emotions as centrally important in human functioning and therapeutic change. EFT involves a therapeutic style that combines both following and guiding the client’s experiential process, emphasizing the importance of both relationship and intervention skills. It views emotion as the fundamental datum of human experience while recognizing the importance of meaning making, and views emotion and cognition as inextricably intertwined.


EFT proposes that emotions themselves have an innately adaptive potential that if activated can help clients change problematic emotional states or unwanted self experiences. This view of emotion is based on the view, now gaining ample empirical support, that emotion at its core is an innate and adaptive system that has evolved to help us survive and thrive. 

Emotions are connected to our most essential needs. They rapidly alert us to situations important to our well-being. They also prepare and guide us to take action towards meeting our needs. Individuals and couples benefit from therapy with the help of an empathically attuned relationship with their therapist, who seeks to help them to better identify, experience, explore, make sense of, transform, and more flexibly manage their emotions. As a result, persons receiving EFT treatment become stronger and are more skillful in accessing the important information and meanings about themselves and their world that emotions contain, and become more skillful in using that information to live vitally and adaptively.
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