Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Deepening Emotional Experience and Restructuring the Bond in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy

  • Lorrie BrubacherEmail author
  • Sue M. Johnson
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_902


Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) is based on the powerful role which emotion plays in intimate relationships. The word emotion is based on the Latin word emovere, “to move.” In the Stage 1 change event of EFT– de-escalation – therapists focus on clarifying how emotion organizes a couple’s typical pattern of interaction (see  Clarifying the Negative Cycle in Emotionally Focused Therapy, Brubacher and Johnson, this volume). In Stage 2 of EFT, therapists deepen emotional experience using the power of emotion to fuel the two transformative change events of withdrawer re-engagement and blamer softening – thereby reshaping the bond to one of safe connection.

The goal of EFT – reshaping relational distress and insecure attachment into a secure attachment bond – is achieved through deepening attachment emotion and interacting from within that deepened emotional experience. Support from attachment neuroscience shows that deepening and reprocessing emotion in EFT creates secure...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of North CarolinaGreensboroUSA
  2. 2.The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy, The University of OttawaOttawaCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam R. Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Colorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA