Fundamentals of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)

This is a one-day (approx. 7 hours) introduction to Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and attachment theory for all modalities – individual (EFIT), couple (EFCT), and family (EFFT) therapy. This training will provide an outline of EFT, with an emphasis on attachment and relationships, and how the EFT Tango applies to all three modalities.

More than just an EFT introductory course, Fundamentals of EFT provides the overall context of EFT and explains how the original “couple” model applies effectively as psychotherapy to EFFT (e.g., typically engaging with dyads) and EFIT (e.g., working with the individual and a younger/child self, or the individual and the inner experience of another person in their life).

Participants will be able to:

  • Summarize the EFT perspective — experiential, growth oriented. 
  • Describe the key tenets of attachment theory.
  • Describe the goals and stages of EFT across modalities.
  • Outline the core EFT interventions as they apply and differ in three modalities: individuals suffering from depression, anxiety and PTSD; distressed couples; and distressed families.
  • Specify the strengths of attachment theory and science as a map to a clear understanding of client problems and strengths, guiding every session.
  • Utilize attachment science as a moment to moment guide to the shaping of potent systematic change in psychotherapy sessions.
  • Define the moves of the EFT Tango and how they differ across modalities.

This Fundamentals of EFT training is recommended but not required prior to an Externship, and is also recommended before EFIT and EFFT Level 1 trainings.

To see a list of upcoming Fundamentals of EFT workshops, click here.

Introduction to EFT Workshops

One-day introductory workshops on the EFT model of therapy, and workshops on this model as applied to all three modalities – individual (EFIT), couple (EFCT), and family (EFFT) therapy – are available in as many of 40 countries across the globe. These introductory workshops are designed to help you:

  • Understand the phenomenon of individual, couple and family distress and dysfunction from the perspective of attachment theory and science. Attachment offers the therapist a map to human suffering and motivation and a clear protocol for intrapersonal and interpersonal growth.
  • Identify specific interventions to help individuals, couples and families reprocess negative emotions and restructure negative patterns of interaction that shape models of self and other.
  • Create powerful change events in therapy that foster a more secure and expansive sense of self and a more secure bond between partners and family members.
  • Deal effectively with common impasses and difficult issues in all three therapy modalities.

Externships in Emotionally Focused Therapy®

A four-day Externship (approximately 30 hours) includes the observation of live and video recorded couple and individual therapy sessions, presentations of theory and clinical techniques, skills training exercises, and discussion of specific cases, clinical material and issues.

General Objectives: Externships in EFT:

  • Participants will obtain a clear understanding of the basic experiential and systemic concepts of an “Emotionally Focused” approach to therapy.
  • Participants will be able to view clients in the web of their interpersonal attachments and conceptualize relationship distress and repair based on theories of attachment and emotion.
  • EFT is a relational therapy. The Externship will focus on the general model of EFT as laid out in the 2019 book, Attachment Theory in Practice, and teach the model as implemented in couple and individual therapy sessions.
  • Participants will develop skills in sharing and maintaining an engaged, open and collaborative alliance with clients.
  • Participants will develop skills in the 5 moves of the basic macro-intervention – the EFT Tango – in order to change patterns of affect regulation, models of self and other, strategies for engaging others and interactional patterns.
  • Participants will develop skills in EFT micro interventions taken from experiential and systemic models of intervention.
  • Participants will develop skills in overcoming common blocks and impasses in all three therapy modalities and so shaping core corrective emotional experiences that lead to constructive dependency and what Rogers termed ‘existential living.’

Who should attend?

All mental health professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, family physicians, social workers, psychiatric nurses, counsellors (including couples and family therapists), pastors and clergy, and students training in these professions.  Registrants will be required to declare their professional designation. School counsellors are permitted to attend if they are licensed and belong to a professional body that has standards of practice for psychotherapy/counselling. Life coaches are not permitted to attend unless they also meet one of the mental health professional categories listed above.

ICEEFT recommends that participants read Attachment Theory in Practice: Emotionally Focused Therapy for Individuals, Couples and Families (Johnson, 2019), prior to attending and Externship. It is also recommended that they watch at least one training video on the EFT modality of their choice. These are found on this ICEEFT website.

To see a sample Externship schedule, click here.

To see comments from participants, click here.

To see a list of upcoming Externship training events, click here.

Core Skills Training

EFT Core Skills Training requires that participants have completed the 4-day Externship. Core Skills Training led by a Certified EFT Trainer comprises four 2-day events that occur over the space of approximately one year and is limited to 12 participants or up to 16 if there is a second Trainer or Certified EFT Supervisor leading the group. In the overall context of the EFT Tango, each 2-day session is dedicated to specific steps of the model and the therapeutic tasks and interventions characteristic of those steps.

Participants are required to present their own work through audio/videotape presentation. Registrants will be required to declare their professional designation.

To see a list of upcoming Core Skills training events, click here.

Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT) Level 1 Training

This two-day training outlines the theory and practice of EFIT, focusing on the primacy of emotion and the creation of a safe haven & secure base alliance, core models of health and dysfunction from an attachment perspective including how within and between cycles interact and block growth and adaptation, a systematic sequence of interventions, the EFT Tango, as well as more micro-interventions, and how to stay with present processes in each and every session to shape key change events. Didactic presentations will be accompanied by the viewing of EFIT sessions and experiential exercises. Recommended reading for this course is A Primer for Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT).

Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the key elements of the attachment perspective on personality and its significance for clinical intervention
  • Set out clients within and between cycles and how they create each other and link to presenting problems that manifest as emotional disorders
  • Describe the core components of emotional disorders – depression and anxiety
  • Outline the process of change and the elements of the EFT Tango to shape corrective emotional experience, such as affect assembly and deepening
  • Describe the micro-interventions used by the EFT therapist
  • Outline the applicability of EFIT for different clients with different symptomatology.

There are no prerequisites for EFIT Level 1, though ICEEFT recommends taking Fundamentals of EFT beforehand and taking an Externship afterward.

To see a list of upcoming EFIT training events, click here.

Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT) Level 2 Training

This two-day training will build on and elaborate on Level 1 EFIT training. Participants are encouraged when they enroll to be prepared to pinpoint brief examples of places they become confused or stuck in the practice of EFIT, and/or specifically in the Tango, to bring into the training. It is recommended that participants obtain and use Becoming an EFT Therapist – The Workbook, 2nd Edition, 2022. Participants must also complete the exercises in A Primer for Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT), before or during the training.

Participants will learn to:

  • Adopt an attachment humanistic perspective on clients, problems and interventions
  • Discover and distil core emotional experiences and promote emotional balance
  • Outline protective, self-defining and interactional iatrogenic patterns
  • Implement the 5 moves of the EFT Tango to shape corrective emotional experience and EFT micro-interventions.
  • Choreograph dramas that expand the self and open engagement with others
  • Integrate corrective emotional experiences into models of self and other
  • Validate the client’s sense of competence and worth in every session.

These objectives will be addressed in more depth and with more practice and discussion than in the Level 1 training and with more reference to specific kinds of clients and situations that participants find challenging. At the completion of EFIT Level 2 Training, a certificate is issued indicating you have completed the ICEEFT EFIT training.

The prerequisite for EFIT 2 is EFIT 1.

To see a list of upcoming EFIT training events, click here.

Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) Level 1 Training

This two-day training will demonstrate how the EFT model of working with couples is extended and modified to fit the family context. Attention will be given to how EFT practice with families is different and what additional skills are needed. For example, how to process parental blocks to emotional accessibility and responsiveness while also keeping the child safe will be a dynamic addressed. Participants will learn a powerful transformative approach that is foundational in helping parents and children who are struggling with remaining securely attached.

This workshop will combine didactic instruction, experiential exercises, and case examples to demonstrate the practice of EFFT. Participants are encouraged to bring examples from their casework to explore the application of EFFT to their own work. When possible, live demonstration sessions are included. Participants are required to read the book, Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT), prior to attending EFFT Level 1.

Participants will learn to:

  • Conceptualize family distress using theories of emotion and attachment.
  • Delineate key practices of EFFT from EFT work with couples.
  • Identify the stages and markers of change in the EFFT approach.
  • Identify therapist practices that promote a working alliance with parents and children.
  • Gain strategies for strengthening parental ownership of the EFFT process.
  • Practice key interventions common to processing attachment related affect.
  • Examine a 5-step sequence for accessing and working with emotion in family relationships.
  • Analyze parent child interactions using EFT practices to work through specific relational blocks.
  • Practice enactments used to restructure new patterns of interaction promoting new levels of safety and security in the family.
  • Identify differences in applying EFFT to treatment of step/extended family relationships.
  • Explore the relationship of secure attachment to family patterns of resilience.

There are no prerequisites for EFFT Level 1, though ICEEFT recommends taking Fundamentals of EFT beforehand and taking an Externship afterward.

To see a list of upcoming EFFT training events, click here.

Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) Level 2 Training

This two-day advanced training focuses on increasing therapist competence in EFFT assessment and treatment practices that guide families through resolving relationship blocks and promote more secure familial bonds. This advanced workshop concentrates on specific practices for working through negative patterns, accessing and deepening emotional experience to promote corrective emotional experiences in family relationships. Video examples and practice exercises provide opportunities for participants to observe EFFT in action and further their understanding and skill in this innovative approach to transforming family distress. We recommend participants complete the EFFT exercises in Becoming an EFT Therapist:  The Workbook, 2nd Ed., 2022, prior to attending EFFT Level 2.

Participants will learn to:

  • Conceptualize family distress and formulate a treatment plan guided by EFFT goals.
  • Explore alliance practices that promote family engagement in treatment.
  • Assess safety and contraindications for EFFT practice and conjoint practice.
  • Identify EFFT change events and related therapist interventions.
  • Order family patterns and process relational blocks to vulnerability.
  • Enhance skill in accessing and assembling emotion associated with family distress.
  • Increase effectiveness in use of enactments to engage and process attachment related emotions and needs.
  • Promote impact of corrective experiences throughout family relationships.
  • Identify treatment practice guiding the use of EFFT where parents have split up, divorced and/or remarried.

At the completion of EFFT Level 2 Training, a certificate is issued indicating you have completed the ICEEFT EFFT training.

The prerequisite for EFFT 2 is EFFT 1.

To see a list of upcoming EFFT training events, click here.

Specialized Workshops

A Specialized Workshop is considered an application of EFT to a special topic that requires the trainer to combine their expertise in EFT with demonstrated expertise in a specialty area.  Specialized trainings include, but are not limited to, topics such as:  Addictions; Trauma; Sex; Supervision; and the training of facilitators for the various Hold Me Tight® workshops.

Online EFT Training

Many EFT training events take place annually around the world, both in person and online. 

All online English-language EFT core training in North America (Fundamentals of EFT, Externships, EFIT Levels 1 & 2, EFFT Levels 1 & 2) are organized by ICEEFT. Core trainings outside of North America are organized and managed by trainers in their region and in coordination with local EFT centers and communities. Specialized Workshops as noted above are held online and in person.

To see a list of upcoming events, click here, and check with your local EFT center or community.

Clinical EFT Supervision

Supervision in EFT/EFIT/EFFT is offered by Certified EFT Supervisors and is a part of the certification process. Supervision is available on an individual or group basis. Group supervision can also be accessed through online meetings or Core Skills Training.

The key principles of EFT clinical supervision are:

  • A positive working alliance between the supervisor and supervisee is fostered – safety enhances learning.
  • Modeling is available: the supervisor actively demonstrates EFT interventions (e.g., demonstrates attachment language and non-verbal behaviours of EFT).
  • Observation of therapy sessions occurs or transcripts are examined. Role plays with feedback give opportunity for rehearsal.
  • Feedback to supervisee is clear, focused, supportive, and congruent with supervisee’s stage of learning.
  • Specific elements are pointed out for the supervisee to improve or work on.
  • Written theory and techniques of the EFT model are referred to and taught in relation to practice (e.g., steps, stages, interventions, experiential and non-pathologizing approach).

NOTE:  On this website, the words “supervisor” and “supervision” are used expressly for the purpose of training in the EFT model, and do not imply / constitute any ethical / legal responsibility for cases discussed. For all intents and purposes, a Certified EFT Supervisor is an EFT consultant.  All therapists receiving such supervision / consultation are wholly responsible for the therapy they provide and they are also responsible for receiving appropriate supervision, as required, by their respective governing and/or licensing authorities.  ICEEFT requires that every effort be made to protect the confidentiality of the client.  Any web-based sharing of information or encryption of sessions must be done in accordance with the standards of the professional college of the supervisor.  ICEEFT is not responsible for supervisor’s actions in this regard.

Recommended Reading List on Supervision

Liddle, H. (1988) Handbook of family therapy training and supervision. New York: Guilford Press.

Liddle, H. (1991). “Training and supervision in family therapy: A comprehensive review and critical analysis.” In A. Gurman & D. Kniskern (Eds.), Handbook of Family Therapy, 2nd edition (pp. 638-697). New York: Brunner/Mazel

Mead, D. (1990). Effective supervision: A Task oriented model for mental health professions. New York: Brunner/Mazel

Sprenkle & Blow (2004). “Common Factors and sacred models.” Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 30(2):113-29

Storm, C.L., McDowell, T., & Long, J. K. (2003). “The metamorphosis of training and supervision.” In T. L. Sexton, G. R. Weeks, & M. S. Robbins (Eds.), Handbook of family therapy (pp. 431-446). New York: Brunner-Routledge.