Couples Counseling Success Improves with Research Validated EFT Road Map
Ask therapists how their couples counseling changed after learning Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and you often hear one phrase: “Now I have a road map to guide me.”
By using the EFT road map, we are able to work with couples in profoundly different and more satisfying ways. It provides a well-researched, scientifically validated path for helping couples rekindle affection, resolve conflicts, heal relationship wounds, and achieve lasting change. Practicing EFT also means becoming part of a learning community where we share our expertise and support each other’s growth. Therapists new to EFT never need to feel they are taking the journey alone.
Couples Counseling Challenges (and Rewards!) Abound
Working with couples presents unique challenges. We need to empathically understand each partner’s concerns while also discerning the relationship patterns between them.
Our work is further complicated when couples enter therapy in a highly escalated state. Couples wait an average of 6 to 7 years before seeking counseling, by which time their negative interaction patterns are often very entrenched, and they are easily triggered into anger or disengagement.
By following the steps of EFT, you can quickly understand each couple’s pattern or cycle, help them deescalate, and guide them toward a deeper connection. You will learn to:
- Create a safe space where both partners feel heard and understood and neither feels blamed.
- Prioritize the many concerns couples present and stay clear and focused even when partners become disregulated.
- De-escalate reactivity and help partners explore their underlying feelings such as sadness, loneliness, and fear of disconnection.
- Help couples heal from betrayals such as infidelity and other relationship wounds.
- Guide couples to ask each other for what they need in ways that promote responsiveness and engagement from their partner.
The Unique Power of Emotionally Focused Therapy
As you learn more about EFT, you’ll understand, and be able to explain to your couples, the science behind the model.
Past couples counseling models usually focused on communication skills and behavior change. EFT is effective because the model, based on solid science and theory, goes deeper to get to the heart of the matter, often an insecure bond between them.
At the model’s core is the science of attachment and bonding. The therapist’s understanding of attachment as a universal, biological drive allows us to recognize anger and disengagement as ways to protect oneself or the relationship when the attachment bond seems threatened. Using intervention techniques that promote safety and emotional risk-taking, we help couples identify and share their unspoken longings for safety and connection. Couples then begin to support each other with increased empathy and compassion. When couples learn that their emotional reactions are natural and predictable responses to feeling disconnected or unloved, they become more hopeful that therapy can help them change their negative interaction patterns. They begin to understand why just learning to communicate better is not enough.
A Community of Support
The Philadelphia Center for EFT was founded to help nurture the growth of EFT. The Board of Directors and active members work to ensure that therapists at every stage of learning have resources for assistance and support. We offer all the training and supervision needed to become a proficient EFT therapist. But, perhaps even more importantly, we provide students and practitioners of EFT a true sense of community. You will find colleagues who welcome your questions, are dedicated to continued learning, and are aware of your concerns — because we’ve taken this path ourselves.
We have personally experienced the challenges and rewards of learning this unique model. Because we understand that the need for emotional safety extends to therapists learning and practicing EFT, we work hard to create an atmosphere where collaboration, not competition, is the norm. The personal and professional growth we have experienced as EFT therapists reinforces our desire to encourage other therapists to explore this path.
Becoming an EFT Therapist
Learning this model does require an investment of time and energy. You will not just be learning a new model, but new ways of interacting with your clients. You’ll find that practice with the help of an experienced mentor is essential to fully absorb your new skills.
Yet you can go at your own pace, and at each stage of your learning you will experience improvement in your skills as a couples therapist and in your clients’ progress.
The main building blocks of learning EFT include:
- The four-day Externship — a comprehensive overview of the model featuring Certified EFT Trainers at the helm. Included are powerful video segments, a live session, and experiential exercises. You will be introduced to the steps and stages of EFT and the underlying principles that support this model’s success. (Is there a training page to link to?)
- Supervision – – One of the most profound learning experiences, supervision provides case-specific guidance in applying the model to your couples. In individual or small-group sessions with a Certified EFT Supervisor, you confidentially discuss cases, review your videotapes, and receive feedback to help advance your understanding of the model and build your proficiency. EFT supervisors are dedicated to maintaining a supportive atmosphere that nurtures your growth as an EFT therapist. (Link to supervision page)
- Core Skills — Four two-day weekend trainings spread over several months provide greater depth in all phases of the model. An emphasis on experiential learning helps you more fully implement the model. Participants will also present and receive feedback on their own work in a supportive learning environment. (Link to training page)
- Certification as an EFT Therapist – Certification is not required to practice EFT. Therapists who choose to work toward certification — again at their own pace – often report that the process helps them gain confidence in their skills and fine-tune their work.. Certification involves participation in the above listed trainings and supervision, as well as submission of video segments to the International Centre for Excellence in EFT for approval. (Would be good to have a link here to a page that describes the certification process in more depth…I know we could link to ICEEFT, but we’re trying to keep people on our website.)
Other Training Opportunities at the Philadelphia Center
The Philadelphia Center for EFT offers additional training events throughout the year. We provide quarterly case conferences (is there a page to link to?) and sponsor events featuring nationally known EFT experts. EFT therapists are avid learners, and the Center responds to member feedback to provide trainings on more specific areas of EFT practice.
Continuing education credits are provided for most training events. PCEFT members receive a fee discount for all events and trainings.
Supervision: Honing Your Practice
Meeting with a Certified EFT Supervisor offers a supportive learning venue for refining skills and building confidence in using the EFT model.
Therapists at all stages of learning often seek either ongoing supervision or an occasional consultation with a Certified Supervisor.
Supervisors have completed a rigorous process that builds on their credentials as a Certified EFT Therapist.
Group and individual supervision are available to anyone at any stage of learning or practicing EFT. (link to supervision page)
Our Community is Here for You at Every Step
The Pennsylvania Center for EFT is committed to making EFT available as widely as possible to help couples in distress and to “spread the word” about this effective model. We are also committed to serving the needs of couples from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, and gay, lesbian, and gender non-conforming couples.
We welcome your questions and invite you to become a member and join our email list to learn about upcoming events. To learn about membership, click here.