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Will Emotionally Focused Therapy Help in PTSD?

Learn more about how emotionally focused therapy is used and how it can be beneficial in PTSD treatment.

What is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) is a type of counseling that may help people who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can happen after someone has been through a traumatic event, such as an accident, a natural disaster, or a violent attack.

Emotionally Focused Therapy


PTSD can cause a range of symptoms, including flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression. EFT is based on the idea that emotions play a key role in our lives and our relationships. It focuses on helping people to understand and express their emotions in a healthy way.

EFT has been found to be an effective treatment for PTSD in some studies. It may help to reduce symptoms such as flashbacks and nightmares, and it may also help to improve mood and anxiety.

Understanding Emotionally Focused Therapy

Before undergoing emotionally focused therapy, it is important to understand emotions and how they impact our lives. Emotions are what we experience in response to events or stimuli. They can be positive or negative, and they can vary in intensity. Some of the most common emotions that we experience include happiness, sadness, anger, fear, love, and jealousy. Emotions help us to cope with different life situations.

While all emotions serve a purpose, some can become problematic if they are too intense or if we get stuck feeling them all the time. This is where emotionally focused therapy comes in.

History of Emotionally Focused Therapy

EFT was developed in the 1980s by Dr. Sue Johnson. It is based on the idea that our emotions are deeply connected to our personal relationships. 1

This means that if we are experiencing negative emotions, it is likely because we are not getting our needs met in our relationships. EFT focuses on helping people to understand and change the way they interact with others so that they can have healthier, more satisfying relationships.

EFT has been shown to be very effective in treating a variety of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In fact, studies have shown that 70-75% of couples who receive EFT show improvement in their relationship. 2

Emotionally Focused Therapy vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

One of the most common types of therapy for treating mental health issues is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT focuses on helping people to change the way they think about and respond to events so that they can feel better. EFT and CBT are similar in many ways, but there are also some key differences.

For example, EFT focuses more on emotions and relationships, while CBT focuses more on thoughts and behaviors. EFT is also shorter in duration than CBT, typically lasting only eight to twenty sessions. This is because the goal of EFT is to help people make changes in their relationships rather than just teaching them new ways of thinking and behaving.

What Emotionally Focused Therapy Can Help With

There is significant evidence that emotionally focused therapy (EFT) is an effective treatment for a variety of medical conditions, including:

  • Addiction: EFT has been shown to be an effective treatment for addiction, helping people to understand and change the underlying emotional issues that contribute to their addiction.
  • Depression: Depression is a mental illness that can cause a person to feel down, hopeless, and lose interest in activities they used to enjoy. EFT has been found to be an effective treatment for depression, helping people to feel more connected and engaged in their lives.
  • Chronic illness: Chronic illness can be extremely draining, both physically and emotionally. EFT can help to improve coping and problem-solving skills, as well as provide support and understanding.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a condition that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. EFT can potentially help to reduce symptoms of PTSD by increasing emotional regulation and self-compassion.

Will Emotionally Focused Therapy Help in PTSD?

Studies have shown that emotionally focused therapy can be an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Because EFT focuses on helping people to manage and understand their emotions, it can be especially helpful for those who have PTSD.

How Can EFT Help in PTSD?

EFT can help people with PTSD in a number of ways, including:

  • Helping to understand emotions and to cope with them in a healthy way. 
  • Identifying and changing the negative thought patterns that can contribute to PTSD. These thoughts can include things like, “I’m not good enough,” or “I’m not worth anything.”
  • Managing and reducing stress. This can be important for people with PTSD, as stress can trigger symptoms of the disorder.
  • Building healthy and supportive relationships. Social support is often one of the key factors in recovery from trauma.
  • Developing a sense of control over their lives for those who may feel like they have lost control after experiencing a traumatic event.

Overall, EFT can be a helpful treatment for people with PTSD. If you or someone you know has PTSD, consider seeking out a therapist who specializes in EFT.

Emotionally Focused Therapy Types

There are several different types of emotionally focused therapy, but they all share a focus on emotions and how they can affect our behavior. One type of emotionally focused therapy is for couples, another is for individuals, and the last is for families. All three types can be beneficial in treating post-traumatic stress disorder.

Variations of EFT

Couples therapy focuses on the relationship between two people to improve communication and intimacy, and it can also help to reduce conflict. On the other hand, individuals who undergo emotionally focused therapy work with a therapist to explore their emotions and how they dictate their behavior in order to understand and manage their emotions, which in turn can improve relationships.

Family therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on the relationships between family members. This type of therapy can help to improve communication and understanding within a family, and it can also help to reduce conflict.

Emotionally Focused Therapy Techniques

Key techniques utilized in emotionally focused therapy include:

  • De-escalation: This may involve teaching relaxation techniques or helping the individual to develop a more positive outlook on life.
  • Restructuring: This involves helping the individual to change the way they think about their trauma. This may involve challenging negative beliefs about oneself or the world or developing a more positive view of themselves and their experiences.
  • Consolidation and integration: This involves helping the individual to make sense of their trauma and to integrate it into their life story in a way that is healthy and constructive. This may involve working to develop a new narrative about their experience.

Emotionally Focused Therapy Effectiveness and Benefits

Emotionally focused therapy has proven to be highly effective in treating a wide variety of conditions.

How Effective Is ETF?

EFT has been found to be helpful in reducing symptoms of PTSD, such as flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression. Patients who receive EFT have also been found to have improved interpersonal functioning, stronger bonds, and better emotional regulation. 3

EFT Benefits

Patients who receive EFT can expect to experience a number of benefits, including:

  • Better emotional functioning: Those who undergo EFT have been found to have improved emotional functioning, including better regulation of emotions and increased ability to express emotions in a healthy way.
  • Improved interpersonal understanding: EFT can help patients to understand their relationships with others in a new light and to develop healthier ways of relating to them.
  • Stronger bonds: The improved emotional understanding and regulation that comes from EFT can lead to stronger bonds between patients and their loved ones.

Emotionally Focused Therapy at Genesis Recovery

If you are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you may feel like you will never be able to move on from what happened to you. You may feel stuck in a constant state of fear, flashbacks, and nightmares. But there is hope.

At Genesis Recovery, we offer emotionally focused therapy for PTSD and more. If you are interested in learning more about EFT for PTSD, contact us today. We will work with you to create a custom treatment plan that meets your needs and helps you heal from your trauma.


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