What is EFT? A New Approach to Age-Old Problems

Emotionally focused therapy is an evidence-based, proven effective treatment for distressed couples and families. It is also effectively used now for individuals with depression, anxiety, and trauma. 

Couples go from distress to resolution with EFT.
Show long-lasting improvement, even years after therapy.

There's no denying the data that has come from studying the effectiveness of EFT for couples. Overall, 75% of couples go from 'distressed' to 'resolution,' and the results are proven to hold (and even improve) for months and years after therapy has stopped.

Source: Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

For Couples Get to the Heart of the Matter

EFT is the most empirically validated, evidence-based and successful model today to help couples stop their negative patterns, find loving feelings again, create safety and security, and bond together for a lifetime of love.

  • Strengthen Attachment Bonds

  • Create Security in the Relationship

  • Communicate & Problem Solve More Effectively

  • Resolve Old Arguments

  • Improve Emotional & Physical Intimacy

  • Heal Old Wounds & Find Forgiveness

EFT for couples has become the “gold standard” of couples therapy according to the American Psychological Association, because of the rigorous process and outcome studies that show exactly how and why EFT works.

For Individuals Healing from the Inside Out

Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT) helps individuals identify, analyze, and regulate emotional responses, heal and improve interpersonal relationships (past, present and with self), and increase their ability to navigate the world more confidently.

  • Improve Emotional Expression & Regulation

  • Unblock Suppressed Emotions

  • Identify Negative Internal Patterns That Create Distress Inside

  • Validate & Express Needs & Wants

  • Create New Coping Strategies That are Effective in Getting What is Needed in Life

  • Find Disowned Parts of Yourself and Reconnect to be Whole

  • Resolve Relationship Issues with People You Can't Resolve with Directly

EFIT uses the same process with individuals that has been found to be so effective with couple’s therapy. Research studies are currently underway at the Ottawa Couple and Family Institute, founded by Sue Johnson, to show the efficacy of EFT with individuals. Early preliminary studies are showing similar or even better results for individuals as EFT for couples. We are just as devoted to supporting your individual work as your couple and family work at CFIT.

Learn More About EFT for...

For Families Create Lasting Bonds

EFFT helps families struggling with the dynamics between parents and children, parents and their adolescents, and parents and their adult children. EFFT helps remove the blocks to secure attachment between the parents and their children no matter what their age.

  • Improve Understanding and Communication Between Parents and Children

  • Identify Negative Patterns That Keep Families from Being Connected

  • Remove the Blocks to Creating a Secure Attachment

  • Restore the Bond Between Parent and Children by Understanding and Meeting Children's Emotional Needs

  • Keeping Families Together

    A Radio Interview with Dr. Carol Ann Conrad


"HMT gave us a second chance, created the space each of us needed to work with each other again, and gave me the breathing room that I needed personally."

healed Client

"The HMT workshop reinforced the book and provided excellent video examples (behavioral examples) and the opportunity to discuss general partner dynamics as a group. Carol and the support therapists did a great job!"

A Happy Client

"Going through the HMT "process" has helped my husband and I communicate more effectively. Knowing what the demon dialogue does to us & how to stop our dance has been pivotal to us really letting each other in"

happy client

“Dr. Conrad is very professional and compassionate. We worked together as a team and she helped me heal in ways I never thought possible. As a result of therapy I am able to enjoy life to its fullest. I highly recommend Dr. Conrad.” 

A Satisfied Client

"We simply can’t recommend working with Dr. Carol enough! Our marriage had been struggling for a long time, and we went into counseling skeptical (but hopeful) that things could be different. After the Hold Me Tight workshop and hard work together with Carol, we are happier in our relationship, closer than we thought possible, and even better parents. We are eternally grateful to Dr. Carol and EFT; we know the tools we learned have saved our marriage!"

Hold Me Tight Couple

"Dr. Conrad was engaging and encouraging to us. she helped make the workshop a little easier to participate in. The topics at time were emotionally charging, but she was supportive."

refreshed client

"I think EVERY couple should do this!"

satisfied client

"If you are open, I guarantee you will learn how to create love and trust in this workshop!"

A happy client

The HMT was a great place to open up and really explore our relationship & feelings in a safe & encouraging environment."

Hold Me Tight Couple

"Well worth the time!"

A Satisfied Client

"HMT helped us find the core of our relationship difficulty."

Hold Me Tight Couple


Frequently Asked Questions About Emotionally Focused Therapy

Starting a new type of therapy can be daunting. Let's answer some of the most common questions surrounding EFT. 

What are the goals of EFT?

According to Dr. Sue Johnson, the founder of the EFT model:

The goals of EFT across All 3 modalities:

  • To order and re-organize key emotional responses – the music of the interactional dance with others.
  • To expand both the clients’ core sense of self and how they respond to others in the dance of attachment.
  • To foster emotional balance and coherence, a sense of competence and worth and the open, responsive engagement with others that shapes secure bonds – bonds that create resilience and agency.
What should I look for in a couples therapist?

Not all therapists and couple’s therapy approaches are created equal. Getting a “deal” or low fee therapist is not necessarily a good idea unless you know what their training is and if they are under supervision of a skilled supervisor. In fact, according to a leading and well known marriage therapist, William Doherty, couple’s therapy with someone who has not had extensive training specifically in doing couple’s therapy can actually be a hazard to the marital relationship!

According to Doherty, one of the “dirty little secrets” about couple’s therapy is that it is the HARDEST therapy to learn to execute well! The trained clinicians at the Couple and Family Institute of Tri-Cities know the challenges and are prepared! Every therapist that works with couple’s at CFIT are required to receive extensive EFT training and specific EFT supervision. We use the most essential and rigorous techniques such as videotape review in supervision, continual training, and “bug in the ear” support to continually advance our skills so every couple receives the most cutting edge treatment available at a price they can afford.

What can I expect in couples therapy?

Your EFT trained provider will form an alliance with each of you and as a couple that will bring safety to the session. Your therapist will not blame or shame you regardless of what has happened in your relationship, but will help you understand the impact you have on one another. The work of EFT happens right in the session between you and your partner, and within you, not on your own doing paperwork.

EFT is an experiential therapy. You won’t receive skills training on how to talk to each other, you won’t receive assignments and papers to keep you busy, we know from the research that the cognitive approach is not as effective as an experiential approach.

You will receive modeling and support to talk to each other on a different level as your provider will invite you to share key emotions and newly developed understanding with your partner. You will be invited to experience and express your deeper emotional fears and needs, understand what gets in the way of the closeness you long for, and your therapist will help shape experiences that will change the way you interact with each other.

The EFT therapist uses powerful interventions that are shown in research to be highly effective in helping couple’s access and share deeper emotions by reflecting, validating, encouraging, and engaging in a safe and experiential way. You will feel held, seen, and supported as you and your partner find new ways of interacting that bring love and connection back into your relationship.

How long does couples counseling in EFT usually take?

EFT is considered a short-term therapy with an average of around 18-20 sessions. However, depending on the couple, the history, the length of time entrenched in negative patterns, and especially if one or both have trauma, EFT can take considerably longer. Each couple is unique, and no one has a crystal ball to know exactly how long it will take, but you and your EFT therapist will consider together the needs and collaborate on when you feel ready to spread out and taper off visits.

Is there anything we can read or do that would help us before or even during therapy?

Yes, there certainly are several things we can direct you to that will help.  We don’t really give “homework” to couples very often, but when couple’s ask us for something to assist or help them with furthering the work along, this is our standard go to:  Sue Johnson’s audio or hardbound book

Love Sense will help you understand more of the process with lots and lots of research she weaves into the narrative of relationships, EFT approach, and case studies that fit with most couples’ dilemmas.  Her book is a delightful and fascinating read and very helpful as a base to understanding what we’re doing in EFT. We recommend you purchase the audio version which is read by Sue Johnson herself. Her lovely and soothing English lit is impactful itself!

Sue’s other NY Times best-selling book is more of a workbook of 7 conversations. While it’s a wonderful book to read, and we recommend it, we also recommend that you attend a Hold Me Tight® workshop to get the best benefit. Couples who attend this workshop move further along the path toward healing than couple’s who do not attend. Through the 7 conversations you learn all the psychoeducation information you’ll need to understand EFT, what you and your partner need, and will have a real experience of walking through the steps of EFT.

This is an excellent way to get approximately 10 hours of therapy that can augment, boost, or begin your couple’s journey toward healing on the same page and together! CFIT offers a HMT workshop at least twice a year in February and October

There’s one more resource we utilize frequently for couples to do that can be helpful outside of the therapy hour. This workbook will help you walk through some of the more difficult parts of the work and offers you a way to do it together on your own time in conjunction with couples therapy.

Ready to Begin Your Healing Journey?

Over the past 30 years, many research studies continue to prove the effectiveness of EFT and its ability to transform the lives of couples and individuals alike. Whether you're new to therapy or you've tried every method in the book, everyone can benefit from this transformative practice.