Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) is an attachment-based approach that combines both systemic and experiential interventions to mend broken bonds and heal fractured families. EFFT therapists focus on the emotional experience within a family and the problem patterns that block family members from accessing the resources they would otherwise share. A primary goal of EFFT is to reduce problematic behavior by creating new patterns of emotional accessibility and responsiveness that offer a secure base for children to develop and families to thrive. EFFT provides a practical approach to engaging families at an emotional level. Accessing, processing, and connecting family members through the power of emotional experience promotes healing and fosters a family’s resilience to the everyday and unexpected challenges of life.
This workshop 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.
- 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 stepfamily relationships.
- Explore the relationship of secure attachment to family patterns of resilience.
Gail Palmer, RMFT, MSW is one of the founding members of the Ottawa Couple and Family Institute and Co-Director of the International Center of Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy. She holds a Masters degree in Social Work and is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist in Canada. Over the past 30 years, Gail has worked closely with Dr Sue Johnson, creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy, and is an experienced supervisor and trainer in EFT. She currently offers workshops, externships and core skills trainings to mental health professionals in a variety of different settings across the world. She chairs the ICEEFT Education Committee and is responsible for mentoring and training EFT trainers internationally. Gail is an adjunct faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada and a sessional lecturer at Oxford University, Oxford, England.
Gail has a particular interest in applying the model with work with families. For the past decade, Gail has been one of the lead EFT trainers who have developed and expanded on Sue Johnson’s EFFT method as described in Johnson, S.M. (2004) The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection. New York, NY: Brunner Routledge. This work has included EFFT trainings across North America, Europe and Australia/New Zealand, presentations at EFT summits, workshops at the Networker and AAMFT, publications in the EFFT workbook and casebook, articles in professional journals and the ICEEFT newsletter. Professionally, Gail’s primary passion is to help therapists who are both new to EFT and trained in EFT, to bring the powerful interventions and skills of this model to the family therapy room.
James Furrow, Ph.D., is a recognized leader in the development and practice of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) with couples and families. Together with EFT originator, Dr. Susan Johnson, Jim co-authored Becoming an EFT Therapist: The Workbook and The EFT Casebook, and Emotionally Focused Family Therapy: Restoring Connection and Promoting Resilience. His presentations are well regarded nationally and internationally for their substantive, practical, and inspiring focus. Jim maintains an active research program studying the process of EFT and its outcome with couples and families. His research appears in Applied Developmental Science, Developmental Psychology, Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Journal of Systemic Therapies, and Psychology and Spirituality. Formerly Jim served as the Freed Professor of Marital and Family Therapy at Fuller Graduate School of Psychology where he trained psychologists and marital and family therapists in couple therapy for over two decades. He is a clinical fellow and an approved supervisor of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, a member of the National Council on Family Relations, and a Certified Family Life Education. He is a certified EFT therapist, supervisor, and trainer.