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The 4-day Externship in Emotionally Focused Therapy

Learning EFT Begins with the 4-Day EFT Externship

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) was developed by Dr. Sue Johnson and Dr. Les Greenberg.  Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) provides a well-researched map for helping couples grow closer and deal with relationship conflicts.  The EFT model is based on Attachment Theory, the Science of Love and Emotions and Humanistic Psychology.  EFT helps couples move from relational distress and disconnection to safer, more connected relationships.

Relationships can be a cause of stress and pain or a source of comfort and joy. EFT therapists help partners understand more clearly each other’s deepest emotions and attachment longings and fears. However, feelings are often hidden, unexpressed or misunderstood. EFT therapists help partners access, deepen and communicate their feelings to each other in heart-felt moving ways.

In the EFT Externship, therapists will learn how to view relationship distress through an Attachment lens and to focus their attention on attachment needs and longings.  Therapists will learn how to pay attention more closely to the emotions of their clients and to explore, heighten and expand underlying emotions.  Therapists will also learn and practice how to facilitate new couples therapy conversations that increase their couples’ feelings of secure attachment, closeness and connection. The goal of the San Francisco Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy is to train therapists to attune to their clients better, by tuning their therapeutic ear to the emotions of the relational dance.

When couples are in distress, some couples disagree, fight and repeatedly engage in negative patterns of blaming, criticizing, defending and withdrawing. In a patterned fashion, this often leads partners to fight, avoid, distance, emotionally or physically withdraw or to become detached from each other. The focus of EFT is to understand the underlying, often unspoken reasons and attachment-related significance and impact of these patterns and to help partners to express their vulnerable emotions to each other.

Traditional types of couples therapy tend to be open-ended, focus on behavior change, teach negotiation and communication skills or minimize the importance of interdependence. In contrast, the EFT approach hones in on increasing a couple’s attunement and empathy in order to build trust and create a safe haven and secure base.  In EFT, we focus on helping couples create and build more secure bonds with each other. We help partners turn to each other when they are most vulnerable, and we foster accessibility, responsiveness, and emotional engagement when partners take the risk of expressing their underlying feelings and needs.

In the EFT approach, couples learn to recognize the negative cycle that keeps them stuck where often one person pursues and criticizes and the other responds defensively or withdraws or both pursue or both withdraw. Couples learn to identify the needs and fears that keep them in that negative cycle and they learn to identify and express their underlying emotions in a way that transforms the repetitive negative cycle into a more positive and secure relationship that enables the couple to more easily resolve their problems on their own.

Partners learn to empathize with each other and become more supportive when they experience the others vulnerability expressed in clear and poignant ways. By learning how to be more accessible, responsive and emotionally engaged (A.R.E.), partners create a more secure and loving bond.

In the EFT Externship, you will learn how to help your couples deal with their feelings together, reach towards each other, and be responsive in more loving and positive ways. You will learn by watching videotaped and live demonstrations of the approach and you will practice via experiential exercises and role plays.

The four-day EFT Externship is the first step towards developing an in-depth understanding of Emotionally Focused Therapy and learning this model of couples therapy.

The SFCEFT Externship is recognized by the International Center for Excellence in EFT (ICEEFT) and completion of the four training days can also be used for Continuing Education credit (28 CEU’s) and towards your Certification as an EFT therapist.

We recommend that you visit and for more details.

Suggested Reading for the EFT Externship:

Attachment Theory In Practice: Emotionally Focused Therapy (Eft) With Individuals, Couples And Families

Johnson, S.M. (2019). Attachment Theory In Practice: Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) with Individuals, Couples and Families.Guilford Press – First Edition.

The Practice Of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection

Johnson, S.M. (2004). The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection. New York: Bruner / Routledge.-Second Edition.

Becoming An Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist: A Workbook

Johnson, S.M, Bradley, B., Furrow, J., Lee, A., Palmer, G., Tilley, D., & Woolley, S. (2005). Becoming an Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist: A Workbook. New York: Bruner/ Routledge.

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations For A Lifetime Of Love

Johnson, S.M. (2008). Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. New York: Little Brown.

General Objectives of the SFCEFT Externship:

Participants will:

  1. Obtain a clear understanding of the basic experiential and systemic concepts of an “Emotionally Focused” approach to couple therapy.
  2. Conceptualize couple distress and relationship repair based on theories of attachment and emotion.
  3. Develop skills in helping partners to change the emotional responses that lead to relational distress and that maintain a repetitive negative cycle of interaction.
  4. Help partners shape new interactional patterns and bonding events.
  5. Practice EFT interventions to overcome therapeutic impasses with couples and to treat attachment related injuries.

At an EFT Externship you can expect:

  1. Presentations of theory and clinical techniques that are clearly explained.
  2. Skills training and experiential / hands-on exercises.
  3. Observation of videotaped sessions and when possible, a live couple consultation.

After Completion of the 4-Day EFT Externship, you will receive a Certificate for 28 hours of Continuing Education from Alliant International University (28 CE credits: $30)

Thank you for your interest in the San Francisco Center for EFT Externship. For other worldwide EFT trainings, events, workshops, books, articles, training tapes, and information about becoming certified in EFT, please visit and

If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].

Details About the SFCEFT EFT Externship:

Who should attend: The Externship is limited to all licensed professionals (and license eligible interns) who counsel couples, including psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, licensed pastoral counselors, family physicians, social workers, psychiatric nurses, counselors and students training in these professions.

Diversity: We aim to cultivate a climate of inclusion, an environment where all can feel safe, valued, cared for, and given an opportunity to form meaningful connections with each other.  In all facets of our work we strive to embody what we hope to see in the world – a just, loving humanity and community in which people are free to be themselves fully – where people can embrace their most basic universal human attachment needs without fear of persecution or marginalization as a result of religion, race, ethnic or national origin, sexual/affectional orientation and preferences, gender expression, family structure, age, class, mental health, physical character or disability.  These values are inherent in the attachment science and humanistic approach to intervention that all our work is based on.

Lodging: There are many hotels in the area. Please visit YELP and Trip Advisor for suggestions.

Continuing Education Credits: 28 hours of Continuing Education Credits available to Psychologists, MFTs, LCSWs for participating in this training offered by Alliant International University.

Cancellation Policy: If you wish to withdraw from the Externship, you must do so in writing. Cancel six weeks prior to the externship to receive a full refund of your registration fee. We are sorry that no refunds will be available for cancellations made within six weeks of the externship due to administrative costs, materials fees and other expenditures made by SFCEFT in advance of the training. If unforeseen circumstances prevent you from attending the training you registered for, you are welcome to transfer your registration to another SFCEFT Training with Dr. Sam Jinich within 18 months of the registration date. There is a 20% administrative fee for all transfers. The remaining credit will be applied to the cost of the future SFCEFT training. The balance for the remaining cost of the replacement training will be charged to you.  All workshops are enrolled on a first come, first serve basis.

Continuing Education, Accommodations and Grievance Policy

If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].