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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work Clinical Institute

Presentation handouts | readings: 1 | 2 | | 4

December 6 & 7, 2018 (9:00am – 4:30pm Thursday and Friday)

UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work Auditorium, 325 Pittsboro St, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 Directions and Parking.


Continuing Education:
12 Hours

General: $380 | Early Bird $280 before Novmeber 6th 2018

** Current UNC-SSW students, staff and faculty**
General: $280 | Early Bird $180 before November 6th 2018

This workshop is for therapists who would like to grow their capacity for couples’ work. Participants will learn the theory and practical application of a therapeutic approach that treats behaviors and behavioral patterns (even those that may seem ineffective, provocative, even outrageous) as strategies to regulate emotion and to meet attachment needs. Working within the attachment frame and utilizing the empirically validated interventions of EFT helps couples to reshape their relationships into ones of secure attachment behaviors and secure and connection.

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is an empirically supported approach that gets right to the heart of the problems that keep relationships from being deeply satisfying. EFT is the only couple therapy built on a theory of adult love – attachment theory. Its change process helps couples to firstly recognize and contain the circular patterns that keeps them in distress, and secondly to reprocess the underlying emotions driving these patterns, thereby restructuring patterns of interacting into ones of emotional engagement with vulnerable reaching and attuned and compassionate responding.
EFT is supported by 30 years of research that show remarkable success and a low relapse rate in comparison with other couples therapies. EFT was developed in conjunction with attachment theory and translates attachment processes into precise clinical interventions for couple work, which can also apply to attachment work with individuals. It enables couples to understand that they have strengths that they are not even aware of and this helps them work on their deepest problems.

In this workshop, Lorrie will highlight the implications of the science of attachment as it applies to individual and couple therapy and will introduce the stages and steps of the EFT model of change. She will demonstrate how to help people to understand and move away from the self-protective patterns that block trust and towards sharing of their underlying fears and needs, thus reshaping their trust bonds. Participants will learn how to use attachment theory to guide them and choose specific moment-to-moment interventions that can transform relational distress into secure bonds of intimacy and love. Lorrie will convey this with a combination of lecture, case examples, and recorded and live interviews and exercises.

Trainer :

Lorries Brubacher, M.Ed., LMFT, RMFT is the Founding and Director of the Carolina Center for EFT. She is certified with the International Centre for Excellence in EFT (ICEEFT) as a therapist, supervisor, and trainer. She has worked in private practice in couple and family therapy since 1989, maintaining private practices in Greensboro and Winnipeg, Canada. She has an adjunct faculty appointment at UNC Greensboro, and has previously served as an instructor with the University of British Columbia, the University of Winnipeg, and the University of Manitoba, all in Canada. She publishes and presents frequently on the topic of EFT, often publishing with Dr. Sue Johnson, the originator of EFT for couples. Lorrie is author of Stepping into emotionally focused couple therapy: Key ingredients of change (2018, Routledge) and ten chapters and articles on EFT. She has co-authored many of these chapters with Dr. Sue Johnson, including Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Empiricism and Art, in the 2016 Handbook of Family Therapy and Romantic love as an attachment process: Shaping secure bonds (2017). In J. Fitzgerald (Ed.), Foundations for couples’ therapy: Research for the real world. She is on the editorial board for the ICEEFT newsletter. She also teaches Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy and is co-developer of the first EFT interactive video training program, accessible at She has several training videos available at: For additional information, see and

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

1. Name and identify the 4 “Ps” of the EFT process
2. Name and describe the 3 predominant theories that are integrated in EFT
3. Name and identify the 4 basic strategies for engagement
4. Describe the process of separation distress
5. Identify the 3 stages and 9 steps of the EFT model
6. Describe how EFT defines emotion
7. Describe how EFT works with the process of emotion to shape change
8. Describe at least 3 elements of the EFT assessment process
9. Recognize at least 1 feature of process assessment
10. Describe at least 1 feature of attachment assessment
11. Describe how the negative interactive pattern (cycle) is the relational problem
12. Name the different types of cycles
13. Describe 3 underlying emotions that withdrawers may experience
14. Describe 3 underlying emotions that pursuers may experience
15. Describe the change event of de-escalation.
16. Describe the withdrawer engagement key change event
17. Describe the blamer softening key change event.
18. Identify the EFT experiential interventions.
19. Identify the EFT systemic interventions.
20. Describe how all the interventions are integrated into 5 basic moves.

Day 1 – Thursday
9:00–10:30 – Romantic love as an attachment process – Laws of human bonding that define relationship distress and
10:30–10:45 – Break
10:45–11:00 – Exercise
11:00–12:00 –  Key stages of change in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT).
12:00–1:00 – Lunch
1:00–2:30 – Following and Reprocessing Emotion – Video and exercises
2:30–2:45 – Break
2:45–4:30 – EFT Interventions and The EFT Tango (a metaphor for the flow of EFT interventions)

Day 2 – Friday
9:00–9:15 – Check-in
9:15–9:30 – LIVE Session if available or further exploration of EFT interventions
10:30–10:45 – Break
10:45–12:00 – Stage 1 of EFT Change Event: De-escalation
12:00–1:00 – Lunch
1:00–2:00 – Stage 2 of EFT – Reshaping Attachment Bonds – 2nd and 3rd Change Events -video and role play.
2:30–2:45 – Break
2:45–3:45 – Optional: Forgiveness and Rebuilding Trust in the face of attachment injuries and betrayals in Stage 2
of EFT
3:45–4:30 Integration, Further Resources, Questions, and Wrap-up



  • 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. [download]
  • 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
  • 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
  • Johnson, S. (2004). The practice of emotionally focused couple therapy: Creating connection. New York, NY: Brunner-Routledge.
  • Johnson, S., & Brubacher, L. (2016). Clarifying the negative cycle in emotionally focused couple therapy (EFT). doi:10.4324/9781315747330  [download]
  • Johnson, S., & Brubacher, L. (2016). Deepening attachment emotion in emotionally focused couple therapy (EFT). doi:10.4324/9781315747330 [download]
  • Johnson, S.M. (2017). Deciphering the language of love. Scientific American MIND, 35-43.
  • 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

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