Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Process and Training Research

Investigator: James Furrow, PhD

Project Description

Couple distress is the single most common reason for seeking therapy. It undermines family functioning and is strongly associated with depression, anxiety disorders, and alcoholism. Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT) offers a comprehensive theory of adult love and attachment, as well as a process for healing distressed relationships.

This research program includes a series of process research studies on the use of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) in facilitating key change events in the EFT model.

The first study is of the blamer softening event based on the study of practitioners trained in EFT. This follow-up study provides a “field-based” analysis of softening events facilitated by second- and third-generation EFT therapists. The study recruited 10 clinical examples of blamer softening events that are being analyzed using task analysis. Results from the study promise to confirm and inform the mini-theory as initially proposed. The second study examines therapist interventions and client responses in successful and unsuccessful softening events. Specifically, the study tests the assumption that client emotional experiencing is important to a successful softening event and that the level of therapist emotional engagement is essential in facilitating a productive softening event. Five transcripts and in-session examples are being compared using measure of experiencing and vocal quality for the therapist and client alike.
(626) 584-5200
(800) 235-2222
135 N. Oakland Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91182