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EFT Core Skills
Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • describe the theoretical foundations of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT) 

  • discuss relational distress from an attachment perspective

  • measure and reframe the couple’s problems in attachment terms

  • identify the self-reinforcing negative pattern (cycle) which keeps the couple from secure connection

  • formulate the couple negative pattern of interaction in a non-blaming way

  • apply their knowledge of core EFT interventions (empathic reflection, validation, reframing, empathic conjecture, and heightening)

  • demonstrate use of RISSSC (repeating, images, simple, slow, soft, with client words and phrases) to access, expand and deepen emotion

  • operate the moves of the EFT tango to couples therapy

  • conduct an assessment to determine a couple’s appropriateness for EFT and to understand key attachment patterns in context

  • Classify the contraindications for EFT

  • Integrate an awareness of the impact of culture and social location in the assessment and treatment of couples

  • Detect the positions of the pursuing and withdrawing partners within a couple’s relational cycle

  • prescribe stage one enactments for couples to facilitate assessment, reveal blocks, and facilitate moments of emotionally significant interaction

  • find common EFT reframes

  • name several purposes for enactments in EFT

  • calculate the use of EFT de-escalation strategies for pursuers and withdrawers, respectively

  • locate markers indicating a couple’s readiness to move from stage 1 into stage 2

  • cite features of withdrawer re-engagement

  • explain protective features of affective avoidance and suppression. 

  • trace disadvantages of emotional avoidance

  • distinguish protective features of pursuing partners’ habitual strategies 

  • judge strategies for accessing emotion in stage 2

  • propose features of successful stage 2 enactments

  • interpolate interventions to “catch the reactivity” 

  • name key aspects of restructuring a couple’s bond

  • appraise ways of connecting with angry clients

  • demonstrate several types of pursuer moves

  • estimate the ability to catch common pursuer blocks

  • differentiate features of pursuer softening

  • specify common nonverbal cues from withdrawers and pursuers

  • practice guiding a couple through reaching for new responses

  • compare pursuer longings and needs

  • estimate the impact of attachment injuries on work with couples

PRESENTERS: Elana Katz, LCSW, LMFT & Lorrie Brubacher, M.ED.

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