Emotion focused therapy (EFT) has been developed in the last 30 years by Dr. Les Greenberg and coworkers, being acknowledge by the American Psychological Association as an evidence based treatment for depression. EFT has also been studied in different areas as complex trauma, social anxiety, eating disorders and generalized anxiety disorder, in addition to couples and family therapy. (Goldman & Greenberg, 2015).
EFT stands out for being an integrative approach, influentiated by humanistic principles, constructivism and neurosience research. As a neohumanistic approach, EFT highlights the importance of a safe and trustful therapeutic relationship, combining empathy and experiential interventions that were developed and throughly studied to help clients in the process of change.
The main goal of EFT is the transformation of client´s emotional schemes and personal meaning. Emotions are the core organizer of human experience, not thoughts. People come to psychotherapy offices looking for help on how to deal with their sadness, shame, fear, rage and guilt. EFT works directly with emotion. The interaction between client and therapist has two significant dimensions, following and leading. Sometimes the client needs to be guided and leaded to the processes that are really important to work on. Othertimes they are already activated emotionally and they just have to be followed.
Once an emotion is activated it is impenetrable to reason and that´s why is hard to change an emotion through reasoable and rational alternatives. EFT wants to CHANGE EMOTIONS WITH EMOTIONS , not with cognitions. That ´s how we change sadness with anger, shame with compassion, fear with protection, anger with sadness and other mixes of emotions.
EFT is an intense and richfull psychotherapy process. It rescues authenticity, compassion and kindness among human beings. Therapists are able to help clients to walk through their pain, in hidden and disturbing places that were disowed, and then create new meaning. A famous axiom to explain EFT ideas is that you can´t leave a place before you get there. You can ´t change an emotion before you feel it.