What is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

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Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a short-term approach to counseling most often used for couples, but it also works with families and individuals. EFT emphasizes developing a stronger bond between two or more people. It examines interactions and how each individual contributes to undesirable behaviors that negatively affect their emotional bond.

EFT’s goal is to reduce distress and negative patterns in the relationship so people can grow closer and rebuild trust, love, and intimacy.

There are three distinct stages in Emotionally Focused Therapy:

  1. De-Escalation – The therapist has people slow down their conversations and interactions to examine patterns in this stage. Is one person not expressing their emotions? Is one person avoidant? Is one person quick to anger? Your EFT therapist will hone in on these specific exchanges to help you understand what interaction and communication patterns lead to hurt feelings and disconnection.
  2. Changing Interaction Patterns – This stage involves encouraging each person to communicate their feelings and needs. Your therapist will help you express empathy, even during tense interactions.
  3. Consolidation – In this stage, you practice the skills you learned during counseling. This stage aims to integrate more desirable communication patterns in EFT sessions and real life.

Anyone interested in improving their interactions with loved ones could benefit from EFT.

Therapists Who Specialize in Using Emotionally Focused Therapy

Michelle Gorden, LPC



I’m Michelle Gorden, a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Virginia and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). I am trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I am currently training in Gottman Method for couples. I specialize in treating mood disorders, trauma, and PTSD. My background is ...

Denay Kelly, FNP-C, ARNP, PMHNP-BC



Hello and a warm welcome! I'm Denay Kelly, your compassionate Nurse Practitioner specializing in family practice, emergency medicine, Psychiatric and hospital medicine. With a rich educational background, including a Master's in Nursing, I've cultivated a wealth of expertise to ensure you receive top-notch care tailored to your needs. I value my patients and their opinion. The work we do togeth...
I am deeply passionate about delivering outstanding and compassionate care, placing patient satisfaction and well-being at the forefront. My dedication to patients is reflected in my approach rooted in holistic understanding.

Lucia Marquez, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC


New Mexico

I truly believe that every person is unique, with their own set of strengths and challenges. My main goal is to help you discover your true self and to provide you with the support you need to make informed decisions about your life. I understand that simply prescribing medication is not the answer to all problems, and I want to help you gain a deeper understanding of what's going on in your mi...

Henrietta Okpala, PMHNP-BC

New York

New York

Prospective clients considering collaborating with me should understand that my approach is rooted in empathy, selflessness, and attentive listening. I prioritize creating a non-judgmental space where individuals feel heard, understood, and supported. My commitment to holistic care encompasses addressing emotional, mental, and relational aspects of well-being. Through genuine empathy and a clie...
I am a dual board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. With extensive training and experience in family practice and psychiatric care, I am equipped and dedicated to diagnosing, treating, and managing a wide range of mental health and primary care conditions. With empathy and respect, I am here to guide yo...

Kelley Bitter, PMHNP-BC



Welcome to my profile, I’m Kelley Bitter, a dedicated mental health nurse practitioner with over two decades of rich experience in the healthcare realm. My educational path began at the University of Phoenix and reached its zenith at the University of Akron, where I achieved my APRN certification specializing in psychiatry. This journey has bestowed upon me a profound understanding and essentia...
I’m Dr. Uche Uka, a Board-Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner with a decade of experience, specializing in mental health for seven years. I tailor treatments, combining medication and therapy to guide individuals to their therapeutic goals. My commitment is to provide compassionate and personalized mental health support. If you or a loved one needs assistance on the path to w...

Melissa Dean-Appasu, FNP-BC


North Carolina

I have 22 years of experience caring for patients from birth to 100 years of age. I worked in multiple practice settings including primary care, inpatient and outpatient mental health, and urgent care for the past ten years. My top priority is always my patients' well-being, and I strive to provide high-quality care that can improve their everyday life.