Emotionally focused family therapy (EFFT) is developed out of emotionally focused therapy, the gold standard modality for couples’ therapy. EFFT is getting more and more buzz and an increased number of therapists are getting trained in this modality. Generally speaking, EFFT helps families get out of distress and find new ways of communicating that leads to less conflict and more connection.
Here are three important aspects of EFFT and how it can help you:
Non-Shaming and Non-Blaming
EFFT highly values the commitment and love parents inherently feel towards their children and holds that parents long for a family that feels safe and loving. EFFT builds on these strengths and takes a nonpathological stance, meaning it does not view any particular person in the family as the ‘problem’. Since it is rooted in attachment theory, EFFT understands the importance of creating emotional safety; only with safety can exploration happen and only with exploration can new discoveries be made, which then results in change. EFFT works to promote an environment where every member of the family feels seen and understood. This alone helps settle the entire family system and allows for deeper work to promote change and heal.
Understanding What Gets in The Way
If you are overwhelmed, confused and frustrated as a parent, how can you begin to make sense of the family discord? If you don’t understand it, how can you begin to know how to change it? EFFT is particularly adept at helping parents understand the negative patterns within the family relationships and the emotional blocks that get in the way of better communication and helpful parenting strategies. As parents work through their own emotional blocks, children witness this, and begin to shift in response. Parents are able to engage differently with their children and create more openings for new conversations that lead to understanding and connection and away from frustration and conflict.
Throughout this work, parents learn to balance emotional attunement with implementing and enforcing developmentally appropriate boundaries and rules that enhance the emotional growth and well-being of their child(ren). With clearer boundaries and tools on how to effectively communicate, there is less confusion, overwhelm and anger in the entire family system.
Based on the Science of Human Behavior and Attachment Theory
Emotionally focused therapy has 30 years of research on how to address relational hurts, being stuck in a negative loop and help couples emerge out of these patterns to a place of security. EFFT builds on this research and implements the same concepts of change to family relationships. EFFT has conducted research with families struggling with addiction, trauma, and eating disorders all with positive outcome data. While research in EFFT is ongoing to create a more robust understanding, the existing studies are promising. As a result, this approach is being adopted in Wilderness programs, in and outpatient facilities for teens and young adults, as well as agencies that serve families with a variety of issues.
If you think Emotionally Focused Family Therapy could help you, please reach out to set up a free consultation.