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Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a brief therapeutic approach designed to enhance couple relationships by reigniting the emotional and physical connection often compromised by disappointment and feelings of alienation—a common dynamic in distressed couples. The central tenet of EFT can be encapsulated in the motto: “Hold me tight.”

Built upon attachment theory, EFT emphasizes the significance of secure partner bonds as the primary catalyst for positive change within troubled relationships and as a fundamental catalyst for both individual and mutual growth. Love, fundamentally, is seen as a transformative force. By repairing emotional ties, partners become more open and responsive to each other, paving the way for the construction of a mutually supportive and fulfilling relationship, both in the present and future.

EFT is grounded in the understanding that emotions are not secondary to human experience but rather integral to shaping our lives. Expressing feelings of longing and sadness regarding isolation serves as a potent catalyst for reestablishing lost connections and responsiveness between partners. Once this connection is reestablished, it becomes a renewable source of mutual comfort, buffering against life's myriad stressors. Consequently, couples are empowered to resolve their own challenges.

Under the therapist's guidance, couples explore the underlying unmet need for intimacy beneath their feelings of anger or estrangement. Sharing this vulnerability not only fosters a newfound dialogue but also creates immediate opportunities for expressions of tenderness. As Sue Johnson, Ph.D., who co-developed EFT with Leslie Greenberg, Ph.D., asserts, "Emotional responsiveness—tuning into and supporting the other—is the quintessential aspect of love."

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