In the early outcome study on EFCT (1985), EFCT showed more significant effects on marital adjustment and intimacy than standard behavioral couple therapy (BMT).
Later research findings in EFCT (1999) showed (70–73%) of couples moved into recovery from distress and 86-90% experienced significant improvement. Long term follow up studies showed stable relationship change maintained over time. One long-term follow up study was conducted with couples that have a chronically ill child and are at a high risk for relapse, (1999). Another study was conducted with couples whose abandonment’s or betrayals (“attachment injuries”) were blocking their progress in couple’s therapy, (2000). Both studies showed that as couples learn to shape the key elements of a secure bond in EFCT they are able to trust in this bond, even when they have periods of disconnection and face significant life stressors. Trusting in their secure bond, couples experience by reaching for one another during periods of distress they are able to both give and receive comfort and caring when it really matters.
In practice EFCT has been used with a wide variety of clients from different cultures, life stages, sexual orientations, and presenting problems (2011). Recent research has focused on how to apply EFCT to different clients and how symptoms such as anxiety and depression create and are exacerbated by relationship distress. In a study with women diagnosed with major depressive disorder, results indicate EFCT reduces depressive symptoms as much as pharmacotherapy alone (2003). Three separate studies were conducted with couples dealing with trauma: women with a history of childhood abuse (under review): survivors of severe chronic childhood sexual abuse and their partners (2008): martially distressed breast cancer survivors (in press). Research finding regarding EFCT and trauma indicate: significant improvement in mood disturbance: reduced trauma symptoms: significant improvement in marital adjustment and quality of life (both of which in fact, continued to improve over time).
In the practice of EFCT attachment injuries (infidelity, perceived abandonment and or rejection, betrayals, constant criticism, etc.) often block the progress in couple’s therapy. In moments where there is a high need for connection with one’s partner, these attachment injuries block connection and trigger panic and insecurity instead. Studies conducted on the outlined steps for forgiving attachment injuries (2006) used in a brief EFCT intervention show: 63% of the couples were able to forgive the injury and complete the therapy events that predict success in EFCT: these results were found to be stable in a follow up study (2010). Less effective results were reported in couples who: had multiple attachment injuries: had lower levels of initial trust: reported the intervention was too brief.
Finally, EFCT research indicates that a couple’s engagement in the therapy sessions is more significant as a predictor of treatment success than their level of distress at the time they initiated therapy (1996).