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This workshop is for therapists who would like to increase their capacity to help clients shape lasting change with emotionally focused therapy (EFT), an empirically validated, attachment-based model. EFT follows the process of emotion within attachment dyads to shape corrective emotional experiences, transforming clients’ ways of engaging with others and of regulating their emotions. In this one-day workshop, Lorrie Brubacher will highlight the implications of the science of attachment as it applies to emotionally focused individual and couple therapy, exploring attachment theory in practice integrated with experiential and systemic therapy. She will demonstrate how to help clients to shape new ways of engaging with and expressing coherent emotional experience, in order to shift their working models of self and other into ones of resilience, confidence, safety and security. Participants will learn how to use attachment theory to guide them and choose specific moment-to-moment interventions that can transform distress and suffering into interpersonal bonds of security and love. Lorrie will convey this with a combination of lecture and clinical examples of EFT work with both individuals and couples.


Lorrie Brubacher, M.Ed. LMFT, RMFT is the founder and director of the Carolina Center for EFT. She is certified with the International Centre for Excellence in EFT as a therapist, supervisor, and trainer, and serves on the editorial board for their newsletter. She has worked in private practice with couples and families since 1989, maintaining practices in Greensboro, NC and Winnipeg, Canada. She is currently an adjunct at UNC Greensboro and had previously taught at the University of British Columbia, the University of Winnipeg, and the University of Manitoba. She recently published Stepping into emotionally focused couple therapy: Key ingredients of change (2018, Routledge) and has written numerous chapters and articles on EFT, often coauthoring with Sue Johnson, originator of EFT for couples. She also teaches emotionally focused individual therapy (EFIT) and co-developed the first EFT interactive video training program, accessible at She has several training videos available at For more information, visit and

**Workshop will begin promptly at 9 am, and will include two 15-minute breaks, and 1 hour lunch break**

8:30-9:00- Registration and Coffee
9:00–10:30 – Introduction to the Attachment Perspective as an essential guide for science-based practice
10:30–10:45 – Break
10:45–12:00 – The basics of EFT across modalities – Experiential and Systemic in an attachment frame –the EFT Map – The Tango – Micro-interventions – Key stages of change in EFT
12:00–1:00 – Lunch
1:00 – 1:30 – The Tango in EFIT sessions – Video demonstration of EFIT – Discussion and clinical exercise
2:30–2:45 – Break
2:45–4:00 – The Tango in EFCT sessions – Video demonstration of EFCT – Discussion and clinical exercise
4:00 – 4:30 Integration, Further Resources, Questions, and Wrap-up

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

1. Discuss at least 6 tenets of the attachment perspective that guides science-based practice.
2. Name and describe the 3 theories that form the basis of EFT.
3. Identify 4 basic strategies for engagement.
4. Describe at least 1 aspect of separation distress.
5. Identify at least 3 stages of change in the EFT model.
6. Identify 2 differences and similarities between emotional focused individual therapy (EFIT) and emotionally focused couples therapy (EFCT).
7. Describe at least 1 way that EFT works with the process of emotion to shape change.
8. Name and describe at least 3 elements of the EFT case formulation process.
9. Identify at least 1 way in which the negative interaction pattern (cycle) is the problem.
10. Describe at least 1 process of change in stage 1 and stage 2 of EFT.
11. Identify the macro intervention, also known as the EFT Tango.
12. Identify at least 2 experiential and systemic micro interventions.


  • Brubacher, L. (2017). Distinguishing Emotionally Focused Therapy from Emotion-focused Therapy (Unpublished manuscript).
  • Brubacher, L. (2017). Emotionally focused individual therapy: An attachment-based experiential/systemic perspective. Person-Centered and Experiential
  • Psychotherapies.16(1) 50-57.
  • Brubacher, L. (2018). Stepping into emotionally focused couple therapy: Key ingredients of change. London: Routledge.
  • Brubacher, L. and Johnson, S. (2017). Romantic love as an attachment process: Shaping secure bonds. In J. Fitzgerald (Ed.), Foundations for couples’ therapy: Research for the real world (p.8-19). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Brubacher L., Johnson S.M. (2018). Clarifying the Negative Cycle in Emotionally Focused Therapy. In J. Lebow, A. Chambers, D. Breunlin (Eds.)., Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy. Springer Science and Business Media, Dordrecht.
  • Brubacher, L. & Johnson, S.M. (2018). Deepening Emotional Experience and Restructuring the Bond in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. In J. Lebow, A.
  • Chambers, D. Breunlin (Eds.)., Encyclopedia of Couple and Family. Springer Science and Business Media, Dordrecht.
  • Burgess Moser, M., Johnson S, M., Dalgleish, T. L., Lafontaine, M. F., Wiebe, S. A., & Tasca, G. A. (2015). Changes in relationship-specific attachment in emotionally focused couple therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 42(2), 231–245. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12139
  • Cloutier, P. F., Manion, I. G., Walker, J. G., & Johnson, S. M. (2002). Emotionally focused interventions for couples with chronically ill children: a 2-year follow-up. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 28(4), 391–8.
  • Coan, J. A., & Sbarra, D. A. (2015) Social baseline theory: The social regulation of risk and effort. Current Opinion in Psychology, 1, 87-91.
  • Dalgleish, T. L., Johnson, S. M., Burgess Moser, M., Lafontaine, M., Wiebe, S. A., & Tasca, G. A. (2015). Predicting change in marital satisfaction throughout emotionally focused couple therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 41(3), 276-291. doi:10.1111/jmft.12077
  • Greenman, P. S., & Johnson, S. M. (2013). Process research on Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples: Linking theory to practice. Family Process, 52(1) 46–61. doi:10.1111/famp.12015
  • Johnson, S. (2004). The practice of emotionally focused couple therapy: Creating connection. New York, NY: Brunner-Routledge.
  • Johnson, S.M. (2017). Deciphering the language of love. Scientific American MIND, 35-43.
  • Johnson, S. M. (2019). Attachment Theory in Practice: EFT with individuals, couples and families. New York, NY Guilford.
  • Johnson, S. M., & Brubacher, L. L. (2016).Emotionally focused couple therapy: Empiricism and art. In T. Sexton & J. Lebow (Eds.), Handbook of Family Therapy (pp. 326-348). New York: Routledge.
  • Lee, N. A., Spengler, P. S., Wittenborn, A., & Wiebe, S. A. (2018). A meta-analysis of the effect of emotionally focused couple therapy. Unpublished manuscript.
  • Wiebe, S. A., & Johnson, S. M. (2016). A review of the research in emotionally focused therapy for couples. Family Process, doi: 10.1111/famp.12229
  • Wiebe, S. A., Johnson, S. M., Lafontaine, M. F., Dalgleish, T. L., Burgess Moser, M., & Tasca, G. A. (2017). Two-year follow-up outcomes in emotionally focused couple therapy: An investigation of relationship satisfaction and attachment trajectories. Changes in relationship-specific attachment in emotionally focused couple therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 43(2), 227–244. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12206 (2016).
  • Zuccarini, D., Johnson, S. M., Dalgleish, T. L. and Makinen, J. A. (2013). Forgiveness and reconciliation in emotionally focused therapy for couples: The client change process and therapist interventions. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 39, 148–162. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2012.00287.
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