Katherine M. Spencer, LCSW

About EFT

Emotionally Focused Therapy is the most effective and

evidence-based couples treatment available.

EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) offers a comprehensive theory of adult love and attachment, and a process for healing a couple’s bond when it is stressed. EFT theory tells us that relationship distress is the result of our perceiving a threat to our needs for closeness and security.

When we reach out for our partner and it appears they are not there for us, that we can’t depend on them, or that we feel like we don’t matter to them, it causes us to feel helpless, isolated or alone. The EFT model of therapy provides a couple and therapist a map to guide them through the process of reconnection.

EFT has a higher success rate of any other model of couples therapy.

Research studies have found that, through this process, 70-75 percent of couples move from distress to recovery, and approximately 90 percent show significant improvements.

Couples typically experience six years of perpetual problems before seeking counseling. The longer they wait, the longer their patterns of interaction become more rigid, and their distress becomes greater.

EFT has a map for working through couple’s distress.


Couples typically respond to distress in one of two ways:

1) By fighting, showing anger, criticizing, complaining or making demands; or

2) By withdrawing, hiding, defending or avoiding.

These responses are really cries to draw a mate back in emotionally, or to preserve the relationship. Unfortunately, both of these responses only drive them further apart. In addition, couples may learn to “dance” in a rigid pattern of Attack-Attack, Attack-Defend, Demand-Withdraw or Withdraw-Withdraw. In each of these patterns, the partners may be thinking, “I feel alone, unimportant, invisible,” or “No matter what I do or say, it’s never right, so what’s the point?” It can feel hopeless.

At the core of every conflict, each person is essentially asking, “Can I depend on you?” “Do I matter to you?” and “Will you be emotionally available to me?” If the answer is “No,” you begin to disconnect.

The EFT model helps couples manage their disconnection in a way that brings them closer together. If a couple comes into the office saying, “We can’t communicate,” they will learn through EFT how their inability to communicate is a result of their loss of trust in their bond.

EFT doesn’t simply change communication. It works at a deeper level to help a couple examine and understand their patterns and re-establish a needed sense of safety and security.

Recent studies and research on adult attachment have shown us that we all need to feel a secure attachment to at least one person in our life. When partners in a relationship attach or bond to each other, they seek to have a secure base that they can trust will be there for them, to stand in their corner, to catch them when they fall. EFT works to re-establish this sense of security.