Full Course Description

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for Healing Trauma

Program Information


  1. Assess for attachment injury and trauma history in presenting couples.
  2. Modify standard EFT couple therapy to meet the additional needs of trauma survivors.
  3. Structure a supportive and secure couple therapy framework.
  4. Demonstrate safe attachment as temporary attachment figure.
  5. Analyze couple attachment styles and accurately match interventions.
  6. Categorize interventions as appropriate for progressive stages of therapy.
  7. Evaluate couple readiness to move through the stages and steps of the EFT process.
  8. Develop effective attachment requests in couple communication to replace confused, angry, or counterproductive expressions.
  9. Differentiate the common styles of couple engagement.
  10. Modify and expand client window of tolerance to improve affective regulation.
  11. Utilize the Experiencing Scale to gauge depth of ability for emotional expression.


Session 1 - Introduction to EFT with Trauma Survivors 

  • The echoes of trauma in love relationships
    • Triggers behind emotional dysregulation
  • The role of love in trauma relationships
    • Emotion as a messenger of love
  • Multidimensional impact of trauma on survivors and their relationships
    • Absence of templates for security and love
    • Centrality of love relationships in treatment of trauma
  • Trusting and seeking refuge when relationships have been threatening
    • Building a new intrapsychic template
    • Moving from intrapsychic rigidity to flexibility
  • Development of defenses and rigidity
    • Intrapsychic rigidity vs earned attachment security
    • Durability of the longing to be loved
  • Identification of triggers and effective communication of reactions
    • Window of tolerance and accepting anger
    • Limbic stability and regulation 
    • Fear as primary emotion
  • Emotional regulation as dyadic experience
    • Clinician as temporary secure attachment figure
  • Developing clarity and acceptance of emotional signals
    • Somatic grounding of unmet attachment needs
  • Attachment protest and insecure attachment styles
    • Primary and secondary emotions
  • Making it safe to hope again
  • Key elements of EFT Stage 1 and 2
Session 2 – EFT Orientation to Presenting Problems
  • Relationship distress and unmet attachment needs    
    • Resilience of needs for closeness and comfort
  • Catching hold of negative interactional patterns
  • Development of earned security
  • Addressing client defenses 
    • Clinician as temporary attachment figure
    • When both partners have unmet attachment needs
    • Heling clients befriend their inner world
  • Neuroception reset and generalization of threat
    • Failure of intrapsychic template for validation
  • Accepting and managing reactive emotional responses
  • Couple cycles of withdrawal and blaming
  • Video case example - Elena and Candice 
    • Recovery from alcoholism - pursuit and withdrawal
    • Responding to escalation in session
    • Conveying intrapsychic presence through voice tone
    • Therapeutic interventions:  counter shaming, evoking, slowing, validation 
    • Scrambled emotional signals
    • Fearful avoidant or chaotic defensive styles
Session 3 - Overview of Stage 1 of EFT for Trauma Survivors
  • Helping couples understand negative interaction patterns
  • Primacy of motives for connection
    • All behaviors make sense if the context is known
  • Getting to primary emotions – seeing underneath attachment protest
  • Attachment theory as threat management
    • Attachment security improves with emotional flexibility
  • Forms of adult attachment- working with hybrid styles
  • Emotional suppression as habitual memory
  • Co-regulation is a dyadic process - avoiding marginalization of either partner
  • Definition of secure attachment – earning attachment security
  • Continued video case example - Elena and Candice 
    • Withdrawal and shutting down as coping response to trauma history
    • Principles of Stage 1 therapeutic intervention
    • Making defenses situationally appropriate
    • Tracking and reflecting behaviors
    • Identifying triggers and protective reactions
    • Use of enactment and structuring bonding moments
  • Creating safe templates for couple relationships
    • The good news about sharing trauma
  • Resetting therapeutic expectations
Session 4 – Stage 1 EFT with Trauma Survivors:  Demonstration and Analysis
  • Creating space – validation, reflection, containment
    • Approaching the alien
    • EFT therapist as process consultant
  • Emotional dysregulation as hallmark of trauma
    • Loss of emotions as reliable guide
  • EFT therapist as process consultant, temporary attachment figure and surrogate processor
  • Development of emotional rigidity
  • Developing awareness of needs and negative interaction patterns
    • Assessing tolerance for intrapsychic exploration
  • The five basic moves of EFT - The EFT therapist:
    • Remains in the present and reflects the present process
    • Focusses on the emotional music of the relationship 
    • Changes the emotional music into a new dance, a different interaction strategy 
    • Processes the enactment, evaluates the new dance steps
    • Reflects the accomplishments and new competencies
  • Continued video case demonstration – Elena and Candice
    • Reorienting the nervous system to emotion
    • Managing overwhelm in session
    • Using clinician emotion to move the process
    • Tango moves 3 and 4 - enactment and fluidity
    • Allowing client’s emotional exit in Stage 1
    • Making experiential contact with fear
    • Focused repetition to change procedural memory
    • Processing the echoes of entanglement
  • Moving out of Stage 1
Session 5 – Overview of Stage 2 of EFT with trauma survivors
  • Stage 2 – restructuring the relationship bond
    • Initiated when deescalation has provided a secure enough base to allow for risk taking
  • The steps of Stage 2
    • Accessing implicit needs, fears and models of self
    • Softening change events
    • Translate those into messages the partner can hear and understand – “catching the bullet” when partners cannot respond usefully 
    • Identifying and expressing attachment needs effectively, meeting those needs, managing risk
      • Use of repetition, imagery, connection to facilitate expression
    • Accomplishing bonding events in the therapeutic setting
  • Differences between EFT for trauma and standard EFT
  • Use of the Experiencing Scale – gauging depth of emotional expression
    • Making the subjective objective
    • Associating with and befriending the inner world
    • Assessing readiness for Stage 2
  • Revising view of self and other
    • Viewing self as worthy of safety, affection, and love
  • Continued video case demonstration – Elena and Candice
    • Reciprocal affective engagement 
    • Emotion forms the bedrock of our sensations
    • Preparing for enactment
    • Amplifying and making contact with emotion
    • Producing intrapsychic coherence and order
Session 6 – Stage 2 EFT with Trauma Survivors:  Demonstration and Analysis
  • Restructuring the couple bond
    • Change in EFT therapy occurs in session before it does out of session
  • Revising client view of self and others – will others respond when needed
    • Shifting from individual coping to relational coping
    • Stretching the window of tolerance
  • Creating a healthy working distance from affect
  • Healing emotional constriction and rigidity
  • Adapting classic EFT to trauma survivor couples 
    • Addressing shame and identity – shame as defense strategy
    • Restoring safety to connection    
    • Separating the client from their shame
  • Continued video case demonstration – Elena and Candice
    • Softening of pursuer role
    • Effective response to partner fear
    • Dealing safely with intrapartner violence
    • Using RISSSSC – the structured approach of EFT
    • Use of proxy voice
    • Preparing for enactment
  • Revision of internal working models
  • Establishing gains and continued post therapy growth
  • Further resources for EFT therapist development

Copyright : 09/14/2020

Healing Trauma through Connection

Program Information


  1. Practice an Emotionally Focused Therapy approach when working with couples in which one or both partners has been affected by trauma.
  2. Demonstrate how traumatized partners can provide corrective emotional experiences for each other as it relates to clinical treatment.
  3. Assess the most effective ways to create enactments between partners to alleviate symptoms of trauma.
  4. Incorporate an understanding of neuroscience and attachment theory into your clinical decision-making and judgment.


Practice an Emotionally Focused Therapy approach when working with couples in which one or both partners has been affected by trauma.

  • Key EFT interventions central to working with emotion both intrapsychically and interpersonally
  • How to pace intrapsychic and interpersonal work

Explain how traumatized partners can provide corrective emotional experiences for each other as it relates to clinical treatment.

  • How to work with trauma with couples with attention to heightening and/or containing emotion
  • Positively and durably shifting affect regulation capacities
  • Positively and durably shifting models of self and other

Assess the most effective ways to create enactments between partners to alleviate symptoms of trauma.

  • How to work with trauma with couples, and work within the 'therapeutic window" both individually and relationally
  • How to work with emotion "moment-to-moment" with the goal of facilitating bonding and trauma resolution

Incorporate an understanding of neuroscience and attachment theory with the aim of further informing your clinical decision-making and judgment.

  • Clinical assessment and identification of various personal and relationship factors that impact clinical decision-making
  • Impact of trauma from an attachment perspective with regard to mental health assessment and intervention more generally

Copyright : 03/22/2019