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Emotion Focused Therapy Online

What is Emotion Focused Therapy?

Emotion focused therapy is a type of therapy that involves working together to access your painful feelings so that we can explore and resolve them. A common Emotion Focused Therapy saying is “you have to go to a place in order to leave it.” As this suggests, Emotion Focused Therapy’s basic idea is that we often find life unsatisfying when we become ‘stuck’ in emotional states (“secondary emotions”) that were helpful to us at one point when we were younger but that no longer serve us. If we work together, I will help you access the more vulnerable “primary” emotions you are experiencing so that you can connect to what you need and create a life that is more meaningful. 


If you are curious to learn a bit more about the theory behind Emotion Focused Therapy, you can watch this short animated video that features an adorable owl:


What EFT looks like varies across clients as it is tailored to the particular life circumstances and emotional landscape of each client. Typically, Emotion Focused Therapy takes at least 20 sessions. The first part of therapy is getting to know you and your life story, and creating a safe relationship in therapy where you can feel comfortable and heard. The next phase of Emotion Focused Therapy almost always involves helping clients restructure their internal relationship with themself (e.g., softening a harsh inner critic, negotiating with a part of themself that scares them and tells them to be anxious) and navigate difficult interpersonal relationships (e.g., learning to set boundaries with a parent or partner). 


Emotion Focused Therapy can be used to work with clients individually, or to work with couples. Emotion Focused Therapy for individuals focuses closely on the client’s emotional landscape and works to restructure their relationship with themself and relationships with important people in their life. Emotion Focused Therapy for couples focuses on the couple’s cycle of getting stuck in secondary emotions (the “negative interactional cycle”) and works with couples to express and share the more vulnerable, primary emotions that will help both members of the couple ask for (and hopefully receive) what they need. 


You can learn more about what to expect from individual therapy and couples therapy by exploring the particular type of service in which you are interested:


If relevant, you can also learn more about some conditions we treat:

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Who Can Benefit from Emotion-Focused Therapy?

Anyone who is curious about their emotions and notices some difficulty in this area can benefit from Emotion Focused Therapy. Emotion Focused Therapy is of most benefit to people who feel ‘stuck’ in aspects of their emotional experience (e.g., often feeling down, hopeless, anxious, or not good enough) and/or who need help processing a significant life event (e.g., a trauma); have the time and space available to explore their life history and emotions; and are willing to tolerate temporarily increased distress in the service of feeling better in the long term.

What are the Benefits of Emotion-Focused Therapy?

At the end of Emotion Focused Therapy, clients typically report increased self-esteem, increased mood, reduced worry, and better relationships with themselves and with others. Emotion Focused Therapy has been found to be effective in treating a number of conditions such as anxiety, depression, and trauma (Greenberg & Watson, 2006; Paivio & Pascual-Leone, 2010; Timulak et al., 2017) and has been found to be effective in the treatment of individuals and couples (e.g., Johnson, 2015; Paivio & Pascual-Leone, 2010).

Book an Emotion Focused Therapy Consultation

Please use the contact form below to get in touch if you would like to book a free initial 20 minute conversation about emotion focused therapy or to ask any questions. I welcome questions and comments from folks at all stages of their journey, whether you’re researching options, curious about therapy, or ready to book an appointment.

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