An introduction to emotion focused therapy
Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT) was developed by Leslie Greenberg at York University in the 1980s and 1990s. Dr Greenberg and his colleagues have adapted EFT for both couples and families. Over the years, research on EFT has provided evidence that it is an effective treatment for emotional issues; i.e. it is an empirically supported therapy.
Basically, Emotion-focused Therapy (EFT) is built on the premise that all emotions are helpful and adaptive, even the emotions normally regarded as "negative" (e.g. sadness and anger). They are not viewed as negative because they are a problem. They are called negative because most people experience them as unpleasant. Despite being unpleasant, they serve a purpose and are adaptive. All emotions are intense and their common purpose is to get our attention. Specific emotions have specific purposes, but in general they guide us towards what we need and want. They help us protect our boundaries, manage our own behaviour and avoid things that we do not want in our life. The goal of EFT is to help people accept, tolerate, express, regulate, and make sense of their emotions. EFT often encourages people to experience their emotions in the safety of therapy, and not just "talk about" their emotions. EFT helps people develop emotional intelligence and helps them build healthy relationships. EFT helps people to be comfortable with their emotions, trust them, and rely on them. EFT also helps people identify old, maladaptive emotional/behavioural patterns from the past that interfere with relationships in their present lives.