Susan Johnson developed Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy twenty years ago when “emotion was almost a dirty word in couples therapy”. In the June, 2012, volume of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Johnson writes about recent research findings and EFCT, which is “now part of a new scientific understanding of love relationships, and…a new era in couple and family therapy.”
In the special section of the article, “New Research Findings in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy”, Johnson introduces how EFCT is different from other couples therapy methods which are primarily focused on teaching problem-solving, creating insight, and coaching set “skilled” interactions aimed at improving communication and reducing conflict.
EFCT, instead, reaches into the heart of the matter, by helping couples attune to one another “with the emotional responsiveness to build and maintain secure emotional bonds”. The metaphor of a dance is often used in describing the goal of EFCT to couples. Closely watching two dancers moving together in harmony, we can sense the secure connection between them and how aware of each other’s emotional signals they are. To continue the metaphor, the emotional awareness and resonance between the two dancers becomes the music they attune to in the dance of love.
Adult attachment theory and neuroscience research suggest that romantic love may be more lasting than previously thought, and couples therapy is deserving of higher expectations than merely lessening conflict and distress. Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, based on attachment theory and the need for connection in adult love, provides the guide map for helping couples attune to each others emotional needs and shape secure bonds to maintain their love relationships.