EFT, or Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples, was developed by Dr. Susan Johnson. It is a therapy based on attachment theory and has been shown to be highly effective, even with couples in high levels of distress. During sessions, the therapist elicits the couples' awareness of patterns they unconsciously co-create and then are victimized by (such as an attack-defend pattern). Thoughts, emotions, memories, and even the physical sensations during the panic of these interactions are understood together by the couple so that they can buffer against the pattern together. Rather than protect themselves from one another's entrenched positions, they can protect the relationship from the pattern. In other words, instead of saying to yourself, "There she goes again, doing that thing I hate," you say, along with your partner, "There is the pattern, out to get us; let's buffer against it."
An MRI scanner recorded how much pain activation occurred in the women’s brains. The results astounded even the researchers. While the electric shock was the same voltage for all three settings, the women felt pain when no one held her hand. She felt less pain when a stranger held her hand. But when her husband held her hand, she felt significantly less pain. Furthermore, the ones who reported the highest bondedness also reported least distress.
Oxytocin, released during breast feeding, orgasm and closeness with loved one is linked to a natural pleasure response, which dampens our stress hormones. How wonderful that the psycho-neuro-bio-chemical basis of attachment and the euphoria of love is not a mystery, but is based on the science of what love actually is, a series of moments when one feels accompanied in life's journeys. (Johnson, 2008). Couples who can access these states are what Gottman calls the Masters of Marriage.
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Fraley, C., Fazzari, D., Bonanno, G., & Dekel, S. (2006). Attachment and psychological adaptation in high exposure survivors of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 538– 551.
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Johnson, S. M. (2011). Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples: Key concepts. Lecture notes. Retrieved on 21 November, 2013, from: Source.
Johnson, S. M. (2008). My, how couples therapy has changed! Attachment, love and science. Psychotherapy.net. Retrieved on 13 November, 2013, from: Source.
Wikipedia. (2013a). Emotionally Focused Therapy. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved on 21 November, 2013, from: Source.