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William James College

Formerly the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP)

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Expanding Your Couples Therapy Tool Box: An Introduction to Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy

May 11, 2013 9:00 am -
May 11, 2013 4:30 pm

Event Description

Suzanne McCarthy, PsyD and Danielle Green, LICSW, instructors

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) was formulated in the early 1980s by Drs. Susan Johnson and Les Greenberg.  It is usually a short-term, structured approach to couples treatment.  EFT is empirically-validated and shows that approximately 90% of treated couples report improvement and 70-73% are recovered from distress at follow-up.  In a two year follow-up on very stressed couples in relationship distress, depression and parental distress results were stable. This presentation will focus on guiding the therapist through the stages and steps of EFT.  EFT is a three stage, 9 step model.  Stage one focuses on de-escalation. Stage two focuses on restructuring the bond between partners. Stage three is the consolidation of a secure base. EFT is integrative and looks both within and between people, integrating an intrapsychic and interpersonal focus in the treatment.  Understanding the personal experience and the process of interaction is key for the therapist as she attempts to guide the distressed couple toward greater flexibility and sensitivity, key components of a secure attachment between people.  The three tasks of EFT couples therapy are: fostering a safe therapeutic alliance to enhance engagement in the change process; accessing, unfolding and expanding emotional responses in an attachment context; and choreographing response sequences to restructure key interactions. In accessing, expanding and reprocessing the emotional experience, the interventions used to accomplish this are: reflection, validation, evocative responding, heightening and empathic conjecture/interpretation.  To create or choreograph new interactional patterns, the interventions used are tracking and reflecting the process of the interaction; making positions and cycles explicit; reframing the experience or interaction in terms of the attachment context and cycles; and restructuring and shaping interactions.

Upon completion of this program, participants will be able to:

·         Identify the couple’s negative interactional pattern and each partner’s role in it as well as each partner’s presenting attachment style and how it impacts their negative cycle

·         Demonstrate the stages and steps of EFT couples therapy and begin to work with these.

·         Explain the primary interventions used in EFT and how to begin to practice these in the modelProgram Code: EFCT
6 CE Credits
Location: at MSPP, Newton


Danielle Green, LICSW is a Founding Partner of New England Center for Couples and Families in Arlington, MA.  She received her MSW from Columbia University in 1993 and completed 5 years of further specialist training in couples and family therapy at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, in New York City. She worked and taught at Cornell Medical Center for 10 years before relocating to Boston to serve as Clinical and Training Director of the Couple and Family Therapy Program, at the Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School. There, she trained psychologists, psychiatry residents and social workers and lectured extensively throughout the Harvard system. Danielle is a certified EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) therapist and supervisor.

Suzanne McCarthy, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist and certified EFT therapist and supervisor.  She graduated with a specialty in health psychology from MSPP and her dissertation studied the narratives of couples facing cancer and their impact on the couple’s ability to cope with this life crisis. She trained at the Wellness Community of Greater Boston and worked as part of the staff of the Family and Couples Clinic at Cambridge Health Alliance. She is a staff psychologist at Boston Behavioral Medicine and a Founding Partner of the New England Center for Couples and Families in Arlington, MA. Suzanne also teaches EFT to various college level student groups including the psychiatric resident program as a member of the Harvard Medical School faculty

Event Type:Continuing Education Program
Category:Innovators - Clinical Practice
Early registration ends on Sep 11, 2012.
Regular registration starts on Sep 12, 2012 and ends on Apr 30, 2013.
Late registration starts on May 01, 2013.


Registration Fees
Fee TypeEarlyRegularLate
 An Introduction to Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFCT)
Member Fee: $135.00$135.00$135.00
Non-Member Fee: $135.00$135.00$135.00

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