5306 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA  206-403-1148

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy


Having secure and emotionally safe connections is a human need.

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy gets to the core issues of communication breakdowns and moments of disconnection between couples.


Are You Feeling Disconnected From Your Partner?

If you and your partner are struggling to connect and feel distant from each other, you’re not alone. Many couples experience difficulties in their relationship, and it’s okay to seek help. If you find that communication is difficult or that you’re constantly fighting without resolving anything, it may be time to consider couples therapy.

Here at Thrive for The People, we specialize in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, an evidence-based approach that has helped countless couples here in Seattle find their way back to each other. With a focus on emotions and attachment, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy can help you and your partner understand each other better and develop a deeper, more meaningful connection.

Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to learn more about our services available in Seattle and online across Washington and to see if we can be a good fit. You don’t have to struggle through this alone. With the right tools and support, a happier and more fulfilling relationship is within your reach.





What is Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy?

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) is a form of therapy that helps couples strengthen their bond and develop healthier relationships. It is rooted in attachment theory and communication. EFT has become one of the most widely researched and effective forms of couples therapy today.

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy helps couples deepen their connection with each other so that intimacy and trust can grow. The aim of an EFT therapist is to help you and your partner better understand emotions, improve communication, and increase intimacy in your relationship. Couples do not need to be having significant issues to begin therapy; EFT can be used to help any couple strengthen their relationship bond.

Attachment Research in Emotionally Focused Therapy

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy is an integrative therapy that combines theory from attachment research, experiential therapy, and systems theory.

Attachment research originally focused on the relationship between a child and their mother. However, EFT is built on the understanding that adults have the same relational needs as children—to feel emotionally safe, to be loved and cherished, to have engaged and attuned responses, and to regulate their emotions (sometimes through co-regulation). When these needs remain unmet, we develop insecure attachment styles.

These core attachment needs are necessary in order to maintain health and longevity in life. Emotionally Focused Therapy in relationship counseling can help incorporate these needs back into your relationship, allowing you to restructure your bond and grow more secure over time.

How Can Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy Deepen My Relationship with My Partner?

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy was developed by Dr. Sue Johnson, based on over 50 years of research on attachment and bonding.

An EFT therapist knows that emotions are key components to determining the health and vitality of your relationship and pays special attention to the emotions and patterns that drive a couple’s conflict.

In EFT therapy sessions, your Seattle Therapist will examine how you and your partner get stuck in a problematic cycle and help you communicate your longings and needs with each other in ways that your partner can really hear it. Through this specialized attention to “the dance” between you, EFT therapy allows you to get into the deeper core issues at the heart of the conflicts rather than problem-solve on the surface level. By practicing those key skills in session, your EFT therapist can also help you learn to de-escalate successfully, and create a healthy interaction pattern, which then leads to trust, intimacy, and security.








Emotionally Focused Therapy Highlights Problematic Relationship Themes

There are several common relationship patterns identified by Dr. Sue Johnson that couples will engage in from time to time when they feel disconnected. Knowing these patterns can help pause escalation in its tracks, and pivot to a different move.

  1. Protest Polka. In this pattern, the partner who is the pursuer tends to push their partner toward some kind of change or get a reaction from their partner. The withdrawer will either ignore, shut down, or avoid a conversation, usually because they feel overwhelmed. Pursuers often believe that they are fighting for the relationship, while withdrawers will often say that they are attempting to protect the relationship.

  2. Find the bad guy. When couples get caught up in arguments, a pattern of escalation can ensue where one or both partners use language that is destructive to their emotional safety in each other. In this pattern, couples can be so frustrated with the state of their relationship that they blame each other, usually because they feel isolated and are uncertain about how to repair the issue.

  3. Freeze and flee. This is where both partners are burned out and have withdrawn from each other. In this stage, couples are so tired and hopeless that they have both disengaged from the relationship. The EFT therapist can help partners in the stage learn to calm their nervous systems, identify their emotions in the moment, and find new ways to communicate with their partner.

EFT Is Highly Successful In Couples Therapy

All relationships have their ups and downs. Many couples enter therapy at a point where hope may be grim and the relationship seems beyond repair. Fortunately, working with a skilled therapist can help repair the ruptures in your relationship and help you learn new styles of relating that will increase your relationship satisfaction.

Emotionally Focused Therapy Is Empirically Studied And Is Evidence-Based.

Research points to Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy as having as high as a 90% success rate in some studies. Many studies cite that 70% to 75% of couples who went through EFT couples therapy eliminate distress from their relationship entirely.

However, EFT couples therapy is not right for every couple. Situations where EFT may not be effective include relationships where physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse is present, and one or both partners do not feel safe. Additionally, if one or both partners are uncertain about their commitment to the relationship, unwilling to attend therapy, uninterested in emotional connection, or dealing with infidelity or substance abuse, EFT may not be the best course of action. In such cases, alternative forms of therapy may be more appropriate for addressing the specific challenges the couple is facing.

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy In Seattle, WA

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy is an effective form of couples therapy that can help couples improve their relationship by addressing the underlying emotional patterns which lead to conflict and disconnection. If you’re a Seattle resident looking for increased intimacy and connection with your partner, Emotionally Focused Therapy at Thrive for The People may be right for you. We have a team of therapists who are accepting clients today for in-person sessions in our Ballard office, and online across Washington.

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In-Person and Online Therapy

Our office is located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.

5306 Ballard Ave NW,
Seattle, WA

Can’t make it into the office? We also offer online therapy for your convenience.

Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to see if we are a good fit.