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Will Emotionally Focused Therapy Help in PTSD?

Some mental health experts think emotionally focused therapy (EFT) could be the key to more effective PTSD treatment.

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of disorder brought on by trauma incidents. Victims may suffer from flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and a strong desire to avoid anything that reminds them of the traumatic event. The disorder’s effects can greatly reduce quality of life.

Fortunately, there are therapies that are effective in treating PTSD. Among these, emotionally focused therapy (EFT) is currently being evaluated as a potentially promising solution.

How Can Emotionally Focused Therapy be Applied?

Emotionally focused therapy is a short-term therapy approach effective at improving adult relationships. It is often used in couples therapy, but can be applied to other relationships. EFT can facilitate stronger bonds between family members and relatives, and has even been used in some workplaces to improve professional relationships, for example.

History of Emotionally Focused Therapy

EFT was created by Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg in 1985. It was based on the fact that our experiences as children affect the way we interact with each other as adults. It aims to clarify emotional needs and desires without focusing on dysfunctions. Building on previous works of attachment, structural, and experiential theory, it set the standard for therapy practices where none existed before.

Emotionally Focused Therapy vs. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Both EFT and CBT are effective in helping people to improve their relationships. However, CBT is skill-oriented and aims at teaching people new ways to communicate and resolve conflicts. EFT takes a more experiential approach that helps people to develop new feelings and patterns of interaction.1

What Emotionally Focused Therapy Can Help With

Emotion focused therapy can help with a variety of issues, including the following:


EFT for couples can help if one or both members are dealing with an addiction. By helping them discover what emotions contribute to their addiction they can treat it better.


Emotionally focused individual therapy can help a person increase their emotional awareness, to better understand the motivation behind their emotional responses and allow them the ability to respond in a more healthy way.

Chronic Illness

EFT tapping is often used to relieve chronic illness. It helps the body’s energy travel along specific pathways to relieve pain. It combines elements of CBT, somatic experiencing, acupuncture, and exposure.


EFT when used for PTSD allows people to increase awareness of their emotions, enhance emotional regulation, and transform negative emotions. It can help individuals with trauma overcome feelings of sadness and anxiety, and to learn to trust others again. A review of seven randomized controlled trials of EFT and PTSD revealed that 4-10 EFT treatment sessions were effective in relieving symptoms.2

Emotionally Focused Therapy Types

There are a variety of emotionally focused therapy types. These include:

  • Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples: Emotionally focused therapy for couples helps partners better understand the emotions and behaviors of themselves and their partners so they can form a stronger bond.
  • Emotionally Focused Therapy for Individuals: EFT for individuals makes people more aware of negative thoughts and what’s behind them so they can improve their mental health.
  • Emotionally Focused Therapy for Families: Families may attend EFT therapy to strengthen their relationships.

Emotionally Focused Therapy Techniques

There are three main EFT exercises as follows:

  • De-Escalation: This involves identifying negative interaction patterns that contribute to conflict so that couples can see how it is affecting their relationship. Partners learn to reverse these behaviors.
  • Restructuring: During restructuring, partners learn how to share their emotions in a healthy way. By becoming more empathetic to each other’s needs they can form stronger bonds.
  • Consolidation: Couples work on developing new communication methods and interactions. This step can help them to see how new strategies can prevent conflict.

Emotionally Focused Therapy Effectiveness and Benefits

EFT is effective in many instances with 70-73% of couples reporting recovery after 8-12 sessions.3  Studies have also shown it to be effective in relieving symptoms of anxiety, depression, and related disorders. It is also known to yield the benefits detailed below.4

Better Emotional Functioning

Emotional therapy can help individuals to understand what’s behind their emotions so that they can deal with them in a healthier manner. Improvements in emotional regulation and identification also contribute to improved emotional health.

Improved Interpersonal Understanding

EFT can allow people to better understand the emotions of the people around them through understanding their own emotions better. This increase in empathy and understanding can yield behaviors that ultimately result in minimized conflict.

Stronger Bonds

The combination of understanding the causes of conflict, emotional triggers, and developing the ability to better empathize with others, can result in developing stronger emotional bonds between yourself and others.

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)

Emotionally Focused Therapy at Anew Treatment Center

EFT is a great method of development for many individuals, especially those who struggle with PTSD. If you think it’s a relevant option for you or your loved one, there are some things to consider when pursuing treatment.

How to Find Emotionally Focused Therapy Near Me

If you feel you would like to find out EFT therapy is right for you, there are likely facilities in your area accepting new clients that would be happy to help you. Searching the internet for providers is a common method of finding mental health providers, and may yield positive results, but you may want to consult a professional to find out which treatments and facilities are recommended. You may also look at online reviews to determine a facility’s reliability.

After you’ve chosen a facility that you’re interested in, all that’s left to do is to schedule an appointment. If you are contacting a facility with multiple treatment providers, make sure to specify that you wish to see someone who provides EFT. Many therapists may offer EFT. If you must choose between multiple EFT providers, try to find someone who also specializes in conditions relevant to your own in addition to being trained to conduct EFT.

What to Expect in Your First Emotionally Focused Therapy Session

During your first EFT session, the therapist will ask about you, and what you and your partner are looking for from therapy. They will take both of your goals into consideration and come up with a way to move forward. You may be tasked with identifying what’s not working, and helping to brainstorm alternative strategies to achieve your desired results.

How to Get Started

Getting started with EFT therapy can be as easy as picking up the phone and showing up for sessions. You may be unsure of which facility to turn to, which is why Anew Treatment Center hopes to serve as a beacon for high-quality treatment.

Anew Treatment Center provides a variety of therapies to improve wellness. We come up with a customized approach for each patient. Our environment is comfortable, and staffed by qualified providers, with high success rates in treating a variety of mental health issues.

Good mental health is so important. If you are struggling on your own to maintain your mental health, don’t hesitate to reach out to Anew Treatment Center today. We hope to join you on your path to the improved quality of life you deserve.

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