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Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)

Emotion-focused therapy (EFT) is a therapeutic approach that aims to help clients to become aware of, viscerally experience, accept, express, utilize, regulate, and transform emotion. It argues that other forms of psychotherapy have overemphasized conscious understanding and have underemphasized the roles of emotional change. It is informed by humanistic therapy, and by emotion and cognition theory, affective neuroscience, and dynamic and family systems theory (Greenberg, 2017). Read more
Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)
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A Guide To Emotions (Psychology Tools For Living Well)

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help your clients to live happier and more fulfilling lives. Psychology Tools for Living Well is a self-help course ...

Drawing Your Feelings (CYP)

Enhancing a child’s vocabulary for their feelings is one way of helping them to understand and learn to manage their internal world. The Drawing You ...


Many people find it hard to label their emotional states or reactions. This information handout provides a list of emotions, categorizing them as basi ...

Emotions Motivate Actions

Many clients find it helpful to recognize the range of actions that are motivated by different emotional states. This worksheet encourages clients to ...

How Does Emotion Affect Your Life?

Emotions are an essential part of being human. Everyone experiences a wide variety of emotions in response to changes in their thoughts, biology, and ...

Links to external resources

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Information Handouts

  • Falling in the “Black Hole” of the Negative Cycle | Douglas Tilley | 2005
  • Cycle vs. Heart Illustration for EFT | Paul Sigafus | 2013



  • EFT Self-Reflection & Cycle Questions Worksheet

Recommended Reading

  • Greenberg, L. S. (2004). Emotion–focused therapy. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 11(1), 3-16
  • Greenberg, L. S. (2010). Emotion-focused therapy: A clinical synthesis. Focus, 8(1), 32-42
  • Timulak, L., & Pascual‐Leone, A. (2015). New Developments for Case Conceptualization in Emotion‐Focused Therapy. Clinical psychology & psychotherapy, 22(6), 619-636

What Is Emotion Focused Therapy?

Assumptions of EFT

  • emotion is an innately adaptive system that has evolved to help people to survive;
  • EFT proposes that ‘I feel therefore I am’ and that feeling precedes thought;
  • people possess an innate tendency toward maintenance, growth, and mastery;
  • emotions motivate behavior and influence thought, but can become problematic due to past traumas, skill deficits, or emotional avoidance;
  • emotional change is necessary for cognitive and behavioral change;
  • conceptual and experiential knowledge are different—‘people are wiser than their intellects alone.’


  • Greenberg, L. S. (2017). Emotion-focused therapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.