What is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a process that was developed by two psychologists back in the 1980s. The basis of EFT draws from older therapies and theories which reflect that, if healing is to occur, emotions must be the primary focus. Challenges such as addiction, rooted in an emotional base, cannot be intellectualized or changed. A different approach is needed. Learn more about EFT and its uses for individuals in recovery from addiction.

How EFT Works

EFT is essentially a way to reprogram a person’s way of approaching a problem. It brings in healthy methods of coping with getting needs met that include a focus on building strong attachments between a loved one and his or her spouse, partner or family. Creating a safe environment for open and honest emotional connection and expression is one that can help build a fulfilling life long into recovery.

What to Expect

Therapy using EFT typically starts as a structured, short-term approach which may take anywhere from 8 to 20 sessions. EFT sessions are scheduled on a weekly basis for maximum impact.

Goals of EFT

Three main goals exist for EFT:

  • Broaden and re-organize the range of primary emotional responses which are typically a mask for underlying emotions
  • Shift an individual’s stance when conflict occurs from negative, destructive cycles to newer, more positive ones
  • Build secure attachments in relationships to have a sense of healing, growth and safety

Advantages and Benefits of EFT

There are several advantages of EFT for individuals in recovery from addiction. This may include the following:

  • EFT is a structured, short-term approach (8-20 sessions)
  • EFT incorporates individuals, couples and families to get to the root of an issue and supports a wide range of problems, conditions and disorders (including dual-diagnosis)
  • Improves ability to connect with partners, family members or others in a way that is secure and positive
  • Develops renewed feelings of love and trust within relationships, critical for recovery
  • Develops the ability for emotional regulation and emotional management so issues do not feel overwhelming
  • Eliminates the need to use destructive patterns and cycles of behavior once positive ones are reinforced and utilized on a regular basis
  • Provides support for individuals with depression, PTSD, past trauma, abuse and grief or loss to cope with the underlying root cause

EFT is powerful because family members and couples may be faced with challenges but building a sense of security and attachment can help enhance resilience for the journey of recovery in both an emotional and physical sense to get through difficult times.


The Villa supports individuals in recovery from addiction to substances such as drugs or alcohol. Call us to find out how we can help you fight back against addiction and begin the road to recovery.