What is EFT?

Origins and Development

EFT is usually a short term, structured approach to couples therapy. EFT was formulated in the early 80’s by Dr’s Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg.   Since then, Sue Johnson has further developed the model, adding attachment theory to further understand what is happening in couple relationships and to guide therapists in helping them.  EFT is also used with families and individuals. The international website for Emotionally Focused Therapy is www.iceeft.com

About Feelings and Needs

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is based on the observation that our most important relationships can trigger strong feelings. These relationships are a source of immense stress and pain, as well as great comfort and happiness. EFT therapists help couples learn to express and manage these feelings in a safe and positive way.

EFT therapists will help you really understand your needs in your relationship and help you respond to your partners needs, and your partner respond to yours. Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) will help you learn about the moments when you hurt each other in your relationship dance, and how you can keep your emotional balance in these moments.

Then EFT will show you how to come close and express your softer feelings and needs to your partner in a way that helps your partner respond to you. This will help you to build a secure and lasting bond within your relationship, creating closeness, trust and connection.


A substantial body of research outlining the effectiveness of EFT now exists. Research studies find that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and approximately 90% show significant improvements. The major contraindication for EFT is on-going violence in the relationship. EFT is being used with many different kinds of couples in private practice, university training centers and hospital clinics and many different cultural groups throughout the world. These distressed couples include partners suffering from disorders such as depression, post traumatic stress disorders and chronic illness.

Our Philosophy

We adhere to the philosophy that relationships are at the core of human experience and well being.

We are dedicated to the development of a community of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) trained couple practitioners in New Zealand so that this quality effective couple therapy is available to all in NZ.
We aim to:
  • Provide quality and effective EFT therapy to all clients
  • Fill New Zealand’s needs for competent EFT therapists
  • Promote the learning and practice of EFT
  • Provide training and networking for EFT therapists
  • Encourage and support therapists to gain certification in EFT
  • To model the key EFT principles in all our professional and personal relationships

Science of Love

EFT is based on a revolutionary new science of romantic relationships

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples is the fastest growing evidence-based approach to couple therapy in the world. EFT is based on the science of emotions, attachment theory, humanistic psychology and family systems theory.

Developed by Dr Sue Johnson in the 80’s and continually researched and enhanced, EFT provides a road map for helping couples grow closer together, learn deep understanding of each other and resolve relationship problems. EFT helps couples move from conflict and hurt in their relationship to a safer, more connected and fulfilling relationship.

“All of us, from the cradle to grave, are happiest when life is organised as a series of excursions, long or short, from the secure base provided by our attachment figure(s)”   John Bowlby, A secure base (1988, p.62)

Attachment theory provides the framework for understanding love relationships. Sue Johnson says the people we love are the ‘hidden regulators” of our bodily processes and our emotional lives. (Hold Me Tight)


Research has shown that:

  • Ninety percent (90%) of couples who complete EFT improve their relationships.*
  • The comparable rate of marital relationship improvement for the next leading model of couple therapy is only 35%. Studies indicate the results for EFT are generally robust and long-lasting. Also, EFT works with partners who describe themselves as ‘unemotional’.
  • Another significant finding is that couples who work through the EFT process resolve their issues with out returning to their old unhealthy communication patterns in the future.


( *Data based on published research studies)