The primary purported change process in emotion-focused couples therapy (EFT-C) occurs as therapists assist one partner to access and reveal vulnerable emotions and needs and promotes a subsequent compassionate responding from the other partner. This study aimed to examine the association between therapists' views regarding their interventions during a given session and the degree to which partners reported the session as helpful in resolving their unfinished business. Data from 22 couples who took part in the York Emotional Injury Project and received 10–12 EFT-C sessions were analyzed using multilevel models. The primary findings revealed that when therapists reported using interventions that promoted acceptance of feelings and needs in a given session, both partners reported higher resolution levels in relation to their partner. Our results suggest that interventions that facilitate responsiveness between partners are particularly important in EFT-C, and perhaps in couples therapy in general.
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© 2021 American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
- emotion-focused therapy for couples
- psychotherapy change processes
- psychotherapy research