Evidence-Based Couples Therapy

We offer couples therapy approaches that have strong research support, including Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy (IBCT).

What is EFT?

EFT is a short term (usually 8-20 sessions), structured approach to couples therapy formulated in the early 80’s by Drs. Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg.  The model incorporates attachment theory and views the relationship as a complex dynamic system. EFT is also used with families and individuals. A substantial body of research outlining the effectiveness of EFT now exists. Research studies find that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and approximately 90% show significant improvements. EFT is being used with many different kinds of couples in private practice, university training centres and hospital clinics and many different cultural groups throughout the world. These distressed couples include partners suffering from disorders such as depression, post traumatic stress disorders and chronic illness. (http://iceeft.com/)

Goals of EFT:

  • To expand and re-organize key emotional responses – the music of the attachment dance.
  • To create a shift in partners’ interactional positions and initiate new cycles of interaction.
  • To foster the creation of a secure bond between partners.

For further information about Emotionally Focused Therapy, click here.


What is IBCT?

IBCT is an approach to couple therapy that was developed by Dr. Andrew Christensen and the late Dr. Neil S. Jacobson. Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy is “integrative” in at least two senses: First, it integrates the twin goals of acceptance and change as positive outcomes for couples in therapy. Couples who succeed in therapy usually make some concrete changes to accommodate the needs of the other but they also show greater emotional acceptance of the other. Second, IBCT integrates a variety of treatment strategies under a consistent behavioral theoretical framework.

The standard IBCT protocol, which has been used in research, includes 4 sessions for the assessment/feedback phase and an additional 20-22 sessions of active treatment. Typically sessions are conducted every week and last just short of an hour. A typical course of therapy lasts between 6 and 12 months. The latest research on IBCT suggests that among couples chosen for therapy because they had serious and chronic distress, over two thirds of couples remain together and show significant clinical improvement at the end of therapy as well as two years after the end of therapy. (http://ibct.psych.ucla.edu/about.html)

Goals of IBCT:

  • To promote emotional acceptance of the other in the relationship
  • While also making concrete changes to accommodate the needs of the other

For further information about Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy, click here.