Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT) Video: Jane

An emotionally focused individual therapy (EFIT) session illustrates the attachment-based EFT model as applied to individual concerns. In this video I work with a 36 year-old woman, I call “Jane.” Jane wants to stop her addictive cycles. She begins the session, expressing curiosity about her cycles of using & not using substances and how they keep recurring and fear that she may slip again. Attachment theory frames these cycles as patterns of coping with separation distress and reaching for comfort. You can observe me extending EFT to individual therapy by: (a) focusing on attachment, (b) following emotion, and (c) priming new responses. In short, I repeat the 5 basic moves of EFT, which Sue Johnson has dubbed the EFT Tango.

I work with Jane to track her automatic patterns of dismissing her own emotions and needs - sometimes by focusing on others and sometimes by using substances. Together, we reprocess her emotions of grief and sadness, guilt and shame into experiences of clarity, beginning to to reconnect with the joy of her past relationship and the goodness of her current relationships. She savors a new connection with her underlying, lingering grief and sobs of sadness, and gets a taste of resolution to her guilt and shame. Her compassion for her deceased husband’s struggle, begins to open her to receive some sense of acceptance and compassion and recover some sense of connection with him again and with others in her life.

Note Regarding Shaping Encounters

In this session, unlike the other two EFIT videos available here, you will see me shape encounters with an imagined other, by having the client move between two chairs. This adaptation of the original Gestalt empty-chair technique, to the attachment-oriented practice of EFIT is not typically part of EFIT. What matters most in EFIT is that the therapist follow the client’s process with the basic moves of the EFT Tango: 1) reflecting and tracking present process and patterns, 2) creating more coherence by assembling and deepening the emotional process internally and interpersonally, 3) shaping, 4) processing, and 5) integrating expressions of the emerging clarity in an encounter with the therapist, an imagined other or between parts of self.

I have discovered that, as Dr. Sue Johnson promotes, one can more organically stay with a client’s inner and interpersonal processes, by simply imagining an other person or a part of self, rather than shifting between chairs. In support of Johnson’s approach I encourage you to trust the power of staying with and following and ordering the emotional process by utilizing imagined others and internal dyads, as shown in the other two videos of Adam and Monique.