Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)
Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) is based on the premise that our emotions are key to our identity, and serve as an important guide for decision making. Problems occur when we lack awareness of our emotions or avoid unpleasant emotions, as we don’t have access to the important information provided to us by our emotions.
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Lindsay Redman, MEd
Why do emotions matter?
There is an incredibly valid reason for any emotion that you experience in your life. Emotions are simply your body’s way of communicating to you that something needs your attention and acknowledgement. If you think of your emotion metaphorically as though it is a small child tugging at your skirt, you can imagine how your emotion may need to become increasingly intense in order to get your attention. Many concerns are exasperated when we try to control or avoid our emotions. For example, someone experiencing depression may invest a lot of energy in trying to avoid feeling sad, while someone with anxiety might get in the habit of instinctively avoiding anything that causes worry or fear. I actively collaborate with clients to build an understanding of how to effectively maneuver emotions such that they may dissipate, rather than becoming trapped in a pattern of avoidance.
What will we focus on?
Through Emotion Focused Therapy you will be provided an opportunity to experience your emotions as they arise within the safety of the therapy session, so you can witness firsthand the value of increased insight of your emotions. You experience compassionate, non-judgemental listening, and are taught new ways to express and regulate your emotions. During Emotion Focused Therapy, you may experience emotions and parts of yourself that you had previously disowned, dismissed or pushed away. You will also be shown how to access adaptive emotions such as healthy grief, empowering anger and compassion, and learn how to transform maladaptive emotions such as fear of abandonment, shame and inadequacy.
Who can benefit from Emotion Focused Therapy?
With the help of Emotion Focused Therapy, clients come to understand their emotions as a valuable source of information, and experience emotions quite differently as they are no longer perceived as merely a painful state that needs to be repressed. Because emotions are at the core of many mental health concerns, Emotion Focused Therapy may benefit a wide range of issues, and is a core element of how I work with all of my clients, to varying degrees. If this is an approach that peaks your interest, feel free to ask how we can draw upon an Emotion Focused Therapy approach in your healing journey.
Emotionally Focused Therapy within relationships
Emotionally Focused Therapy has a similar name to Emotion Focused Therapy, but it differs from EFT in that this intervention is designed to support couples and family members to increase their understanding of emotions of other important people in their lives, rather than focusing on understanding one’s own emotions. However, as both approaches help clients to build general insight into emotions, both serve to potentially strengthen relationships with others.
The goal of Emotionally Focused Therapy
Emotionally Focused Therapy aims to increase security, closeness and connection within relationships. This approach is based on the idea that distress within our relationships is often caused by a deep rooted fear of abandonment, and that our emotional automatic response to these fears can put a strain on relationships. When couples are unable to effectively communicate their emotions and underlying needs to their partner, they may become stuck in an unhealthy pattern. Within therapy, clients can learn to identify, express and show compassion for emotions as they arise within their relationship, leading to a more secure attachment.
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