Today’s high stressed lifestyles and its constant demands can be a veritable jungle of emotions, all of which can and sometimes are experienced, at once. These tidal waves of emotions can bring on a vast array of psychological issues, ranging from social and relationship problems, anxiety and even depression. There are several forms of treatment to help deal with these issues. Besides mood altering medications that can leave an individual feeling sluggish or even a little lethargic, the recommended treatment for dealing with these emotions is Emotion Focused Therapy or EFT therapy.
Emotion Focused Therapy is a structured form of psychotherapy developed by Dr. Susan Johnson, a couple’s therapy specialist and Les Greenberg, a South African psychotherapist, in the 80’s. It uses methods unlike traditional therapy that tends to be more emotional suppression therapy or EST. Emotion Focused Therapy is intended for the individual to not only experience emotions as they are experienced but to express them.
The purpose of this form of therapy is to help an individual to discern if the emotions they are experiencing are adaptive or maladaptive. Differentiating these emotions can help the individual to easily identify the emotions they experience at any given time and adapt them so as to express them in a more productive manner. Emotion Focused Therapy follows a structure to achieve these goals. The structure consists of: acceptance, expression, regulation and transformation. Accept the emotions and the situations that evoke them, productively express them, make sense of them and transform them into the proper responses.
Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT), works just as well for families and couples as it does for the individual. Though it is primarily used to treat depression an adaptive form is also effective on interpersonal issues as well. EFT for the individual can be used as a short term means of therapy, with 16-18 week treatment plans. But, EFT-M can be used as a maintenance therapy as well. Needless to say, when an individual finds themselves in a situation where the emotional roller coaster of everyday stresses get to be too much, there are other options available than just medication and studies have shown that emotion focused therapy is a viable option.