“Stepping into Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy is an amazing book! This is a must-read for anyone interested in learning EFT!”

—Scott R. Woolley, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor, Couple and Family Therapy

California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University

Stepping Into EFT book cover

Stepping Into
Emotionally Focused
Couple Therapy

Key Ingredients of Change

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Stepping into Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Key Ingredients of Change engages therapists unfamiliar with the model, augments the facility and mastery of EFT practitioners, and entices couple therapists of other modalities to dip a toe into EFT waters. Adding to the main text of EFT (Johnson, 2004) by integrating recent developments, research and newly simple and tangible ways to integrate the model, this book is theoretically crisp, therapeutically relevant, and fully consonant with Dr. Johnson’s approach.

The reader experiences the EFT change process as a therapist named Emily, who is new to EFT, self-reflects and works with three couples, each representing a common ineffective interaction pattern: Tara and Kyle have a classic demand/withdraw pattern; Phil and Julie, display a withdraw/withdraw pattern and Sophie and Ella, repeat highly escalated attack/attack sequences.


Stepping into Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy is an amazing book! It lays out how to do Dr. Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy in a very clear, concise, understandable manner. It also integrates the latest research into the “how to” of practice. This is a must-read for anyone interested in learning EFT!

Scott R. Woolley, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor, Couple and Family Therapy, California School of Professional Psychology

Alliant International University, San Diego, CA

Certified EFT Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer

Ms. Brubacher, an experienced EFT therapist, consultant, and trainer herself, is well-positioned to invite us to walk with her in understanding a strong, evidence-based, treatment model for becoming engaged with couples.

Dan Hughes, Ph.D.

founder and developer of "Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy"

author of "Attachment-focused family therapy workbook" (2011)

co-author of "The neurobiology of attachment-focused therapy" (2016)

Stepping Into Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy  is personally and professionally engaging right from the first paragraph. Both new and more experienced EFT couple therapists will benefit from reading this book.

Dr. Marlene Best, C.Psych

ICEEFT Certified EFT Trainer and Supervisor

Clinical Professor, School of Psychology, University of Ottawa

This is an excellent book; I learned so much from reading it, even though I have been working with EFT for over twenty five years! It is an easy to read step by step primer that is filled with insight and a very useful perspective on the model.

Dr. Alison Lee

Vice-President, the International Centre for Excellence in EFT

Certified EFT Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer

co-author of "Becoming an Emotionally Focused Therapist: The Workbook" (2005)

In Stepping into Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Key Ingredients of Change, Lorrie Brubacher contributes a valuable and much needed resource for learning Dr. Sue Johnson’s model of Emotionally Focused Therapy. All therapists, whether novice or seasoned, can benefit and improve their practice through this engaging and relevant read.

Gail Palmer, MSW, RMFT

Certified EFT Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer

founding member and co-director of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy

co-author of "Becoming an Emotionally Focused Therapist: The Workbook" (2005)

Wonderful book.  It's both simple and thorough so it makes what can feel overwhelming and daunting doable.  Breaking the EFT magic down to measurable steps is the only way to replicate it in my office--so I feel grateful to Lorrie for writing this guide. It is and will continue to improve my work. Thank you, Lorrie.

Jennifer Olden, LMFT

ICEEFT Certified EFT Therapist and Supervisor

Sacramento, CA


I have been an EFT therapist for over a decade, and Lorrie’s book has much to offer even seasoned clinicians. She covers the model clearly and systematically, with a refreshingly smooth and easy-to-read style—it flows from start to finish.

Roy Hodgson, MA, LMFT

ICEEFT Certified Trainer

Seattle, WA

Just skimming through the draft - it's got that special "Lorrie" quality - superbly clear and engaging - she has such a gift for writing - can't wait to have it in print and promote it to every EFT’er I know!

Yolanda von Hockauf, M.Ed

ICEEFT Certified Trainer

Vancouver, Canada

This book provides an enriching and expansive view of the model’s theoretical underpinnings, process, and application that reveals Lorrie’s extensive experience, depth of knowledge, and grasp of how emotion can be effectively harnessed and utilized.

Dr. T. Leanne Campbell and Dr. David R. Fairweather

ICEEFT Certified EFT Trainers

Vancouver Island Centre for EFT



Introduction to emotionally focused therapy (EFT)

In chapter one, we meet Emily, a therapist newly learning EFT and three of her couples who reappear throughout the book as we walk through the steps and stages of EFT. The chapter presents a brief history of the development of EFT, presents the steps and stages of the EFT map for change, and outlines the research validating EFT as an evidence-based approach.

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Key Ingredients of Change on the EFT Roadmap

In Chapter 2 I expand on three client factors and the empirically validated EFT therapist interventions that are needed to follow the EFT map for change.

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The Revolutionary New Science of Love as an Attachment Bond

Chapter three offers an experiential felt sense of adult romantic love as an attachment bond, similar to the bond that exists between infant and parent. Threats to an attachment bond are viewed as the element that casts romantic love in peril. I answer the questions, “How is romantic love an attachment process?” and “How does attachment theory provide a clearly articulated theory and science of adult love?”

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Assessment and Alliance: The Attachment Experience of Steps 1 and 2

In chapter four, I hold up an attachment lens for you to see and experience how attachment sculpts and forms the alliance building and assessment process in Steps 1 and 2. Extras referred to in the book and provided on this website, pertaining to assessment and alliance include: • An EFT Compatible Intake Form, • Excerpts from an Early Session with Phil and Julie, and • Guides to Early EFT Sessions • Guide to Individual Sessions in EFT Couple Therapy.

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The Tyranny of Unheeded Attachment Fears: Unpacking Emotion in the De-escalation Change Event (Steps 3 and 4)

Chapter five sets the stage for understanding emotion as a dynamic process, and describes the various paths into primary emotion that remains outside of immediate awareness.

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Working with Emotion to Shape the Withdrawer Re-engagement Change Event (Steps 5 - 7)

In this chapter I illustrate the “overly determined sense of independence and self reliance” of more withdrawing partners and the survival strategy that more avoidant partners use “to avoid any emotional state that would interfere with their main goal of keeping the attachment system deactivated.”

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Working with Emotion to Shape the Blamer Softening Change Event (Steps 5-7)

In Chapter 7 I explore the blamer softening change event (BLS). After defining the change event of BLS, I guide the reader on an exploration of the key ingredients of change in BLS from the perspectives of what is seen, what is done, and how the steps are done.

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Consolidating secure bonds in Stage 3 of EFT (Steps 8-9)

In Chapter 8 I give an overview of Stage 3 consolidation, where the therapist guides couples through integrating and consolidating the changes they have made so that they can continue to shape and grow their love relationship.

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Integrating and consolidating the map of EFT

In chapter 9 I integrate and consolidate the process of EFT as a scientific and artistic endeavor. I illustrate signals or markers of emotional experiencing. I present guideposts through the steps of change and give descriptions of the EFT tasks to do at each of these steps. I end the chapter with a discussion of therapist felt sensing.

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Addictive Processes as Substitute Sources of Comfort

I explore a changing view of addictive processes. Initially considered a contraindication for couple therapy, they are now approached as an attachment-related problem that, if acknowledged, can be worked with in EFT.

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Repairing Broken Bonds: Forgiveness and Reconciliation with EFT’s Attachment Injury Resolution Model

Attachment injuries range from infidelity to physical or emotional absence during a time of critical emotional need. An attachment injury is defined as a specific relational incident, where one partner is inaccessible or unresponsive to offer comfort and caring in a particular moment of need, shattering the bond of trust between intimates. I describe different ways an attachment injury can emerge in therapy.

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Extending Attachment- based EFT to Individual Therapy

In Chapter 12, I respond to one of the inevitable next steps for a therapist embracing EFT: A search for how to extend this model across all of one’s therapy clients and in particular, how to extend attachment-based EFT to individual therapy.

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Future Steps: You and EFT

In Chapter 13, I encourage readers is specific ways to use Emily’s integration of EFT as a model to trust their capacities to develop their own style of EFT, one step at a time. I encourage participation in the international EFT community as well as in local peer support groups.

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About the Author

Lorrie Brubacher

Lorrie Brubacher, MEd, LMFT

Lorrie Brubacher is the Founding Director of the Carolina Center for EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy). A certified trainer with the International Centre for Excellence in EFT (ICEEFT), she is an individual, couple and family therapist since 1989. She is also an adjunct at University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and has previously taught at several Canadian universities. She trains internationally and publishes frequently on the topic of EFT, often with its originator, Dr Sue Johnson. She co-developed EFT’s first interactive video training program.