Emotionally Focused Therapy Training: 16 Best EFT Courses

Emotionally Focused Therapy TrainingEmotions are important messengers about our relationships and wellbeing.

If your work as a helping professional involves improving your clients’ emotional literacy, then you should consider supplementing your skills with emotionally focused therapy (EFT) training.

Training in EFT will refine your existing skills to help you clarify your clients’ emotional experience and improve their emotional literacy and overall wellbeing, whether you work with individuals, couples, or families.

In this article, we will share emotionally focused therapy training options, explain how to become an EFT practitioner, and outline the in-person and online certification options. We also provide helpful resources for coaches, counselors, and therapists who are interested in integrating this approach into their existing practice.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Emotional Intelligence Exercises for free. These science-based exercises will enhance your ability to understand and work with your emotions and give you the tools to foster the emotional intelligence of your clients, students, or employees.

How to Become an EFT Practitioner

Emotionally focused therapy and emotion-focused therapy (EFT) refer to a family of humanistic psychotherapy interventions rooted in the neuroscience of attachment and focus on the emotional content of experience (Greenberg, 2017).

In this article, we will refer to all types of EFT training programs, whether “emotionally focused therapy” or “emotion-focused therapy.” This distinction in terms came about when Les Greenberg (2017) decided to apply EFT to his work with individuals rather than couples, and his use of American rather than British English. EFT is the generic acronym used to refer to work with all client groups.

Training to become an EFT practitioner is open to licensed mental health professionals who are committed to a person-centered or humanistic approach and have an interest in enhancing their existing toolkit.

EFT is based on the neuroscience of attachment, has a strong scientific evidence base (Wiebe & Johnson, 2017), and has demonstrable benefits in the long term.

The Research on Emotionally Focused Therapy - Psychwire

This video explains more about EFT research.

EFT training takes place in a series of stages delivered in modules over several days or for a certain number of hours. Typically, training begins with a four-day foundation course called an “externship” and is followed by core skills training.

Emotionally Focused Therapy Beginning Training

Additional EFT training comprises advanced modules focused on working with specific client groups more in depth. We explain this in more detail in the next section.

Training in Emotionally Focused Therapy

Most certified training programs are aimed at working with couples, although EFT is also used to work with individuals and families.

Each training program begins with the foundations mentioned above before proceeding to more advanced options, often aimed at specific client groups or problematic attachment patterns.

Individuals

There are specific training programs that apply EFT to individuals to support them with emotional regulation — a common issue in a range of conditions, including addiction, anxiety, depression, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder (Greenberg, 2015).

Emotionally Focused Therapy for Individuals - Psychwire

One founder of EFT, Dr. Sue Johnson, explains how EFT can be used to work with individuals.

EFT practitioners also use chair work with individuals. For example, an individual may struggle with uncomfortable emotions about another person in their lives who it’s not appropriate to invite into therapy, such as a close working colleague, family member, or friend.

What is chair work in Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT)?

Chair work is a psychodrama technique to help clients process “unfinished business.” See this concise explanation of how it’s used in EFT.

EFT can be a helpful intervention for individuals to become more aware of their emotions, accepting and using them as powerful guides to creating and setting healthy boundaries, communicating their needs to others, and improving the quality of their relationships overall (Greenberg, 2015).

Couples

Emotionally focused therapy for couples is an intervention designed to help those in committed partnerships repair various types of relationship injuries such as dissatisfaction, alienation, defensiveness, and infidelity (Johnson, 2020).

For a further in-depth explanation of how EFT is used to work with couples, see our article How to Do Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy: 6 Interventions.

Families

Emotionally focused therapy for families draws on systemic and experiential techniques designed to repair problematic attachment patterns between family members.

Training focuses on changing dynamics in families during times of disconnection, conflict, and transition, such as when children navigate adolescence and need to develop a more autonomous sense of identity (Johnson & Brubacher, 2016). This can lead to behavior patterns in developing children that leave parents struggling and bewildered.

Emotionally Focused Therapy for Families - Psychwire

EFT helps families accept changing dynamics and repair attachment patterns, leading to a greater sense of emotional security and healthier family bonding.

Dr. Sue Johnson explains further in this brief video.

In summary, emotionally focused therapy training provides an extended toolkit for licensed mental health professionals working with individuals, couples, and families. Different routes through advanced EFT training emphasize how to work with specific client groups.

3 emotional intelligence exercises

Download 3 Free Emotional Intelligence Exercises (PDF)

These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients understand and use emotions advantageously.

10 Best EFT Courses and Certifications

The emotionally focused therapy training programs listed below require in-person attendance and have been grouped together by country. Some organizations offer both in-person and online training. Those that do so are also mentioned in our online training section.

Australia

We have only listed one training provider for Australian mental health professionals; however, there are other workshops and programs offered in Australia through ICEEFT, which are listed under the international providers, so check there as well.

Brisbane Centre for EFT (BCEFT)

BCEFT

Situated in Brisbane, Australia, BCEFT offers core EFT certification training including externships and core skill training as well as core skills for working with individuals.

They also offer a range of masterclasses aimed at specific client groups for certified EFT practitioners, including diversity workshops on “Queering EFT” and “Polyamory in Practice.”

You can find out more by visiting the BCEFT website.

Canada

Licensed mental health professionals living in Canada can apply to train for full certification with the following two EFT training providers.

The Alberta Institute of Emotion-Focused Therapy

Alberta Institute

Alberta Institute of Emotion-Focused Therapy provides EFT training to accredited therapists only with a person-centered or humanistic orientation.

If you are a therapist who uses another approach, then you’re requested to supplement your training with an extra module on empathic tracking.

EFT training is offered in three levels. Levels one and two offer foundational and core skill training, while level three entails supervised practice leading to full certification.

You can discover more by visiting the Alberta Institute website.

The Vancouver Centre for Emotionally Focused Therapy Training

The Vancouver Centre for Emotionally Focused Therapy Training offers the standard externship and core skill training routes to certification for licensed mental health professionals, as well as advanced training focused on specific client groups, including individuals, couples, groups, and the LGBTQ community.

You can find out more by visiting the Vancouver Centre website.

United Kingdom

Qualified mental health professionals residing in the United Kingdom can train for full EFT certification with the following organizations.

The British Emotionally Focused Therapy Centre (BEFT)

BEFT

The BEFT offers the standard externship and core skill training required for EFT certification.

It also offers a summer school option and a range of specialist trainings for working with specific client groups, including LGBTQ clients, and a special interest group for working with neurodiversity.

You can find out more by visiting the BEFT website.

The Salomons Institute, Canterbury Christ Church University, England

Canterbury Christ Church University

The Salomons Institute for Applied Psychology at Canterbury Christ Church University offers level-one and level-two EFT training on campus, plus a range of advanced workshops focused on specific client groups.

It is the only campus-based EFT training in England.

Find out more by visiting the Canterbury website.

The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland

University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, offers campus-based level-one EFT training to practicing therapists and counselors who must have a postgraduate diploma or master’s degree to be eligible to apply.

This course provides the first step toward EFT certification and is endorsed by the International Society for Emotion-Focused Therapy.

Level-two training is offered live online via Zoom and comprises three modules:

  • Module A: Advanced Empathic Attunement & Relational Work
  • Module B: EFT Fundamentals
  • Module C: Advanced Methods in EFT

Both levels one and two are needed to complete foundational EFT training before moving into supervised practice and certification.

You can find out more by visiting the Strathclyde website.

United States

Licensed mental health professionals living in the United States can apply to the following training providers.

The New York Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy (NYCEFT)

NYCEFT

NYCEFT offers externship and core skill in-person training to licensed mental health professionals in what it calls “the science of love.”

They also offer group supervision to support trainees becoming certified EFT practitioners while developing a peer support network.

You can find out more by watching this short promotional video below and checking out the NYCEFT website.

New York Center of Emotionally Focused Therapy

The San Francisco Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy (SFCEFT)

San Francisco Center

The San Francisco Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy training is the West Coast EFT training option for US residents.

Like the New York Center, you must be a licensed mental health professional to be eligible for training.

SCEFT offers the standard externship and core skill training path to certification, plus advanced training for certified practitioners. Courses are delivered in English and Spanish.

Find out more by visiting the SFCEFT website.

International

These two providers offer a range of EFT training programs and workshops internationally. Different eligibility criteria apply depending on the country’s specific professional regulations. Please check these carefully before applying.

AcRE EFT – UK, US, and Poland

AcRE

AcRE EFT provides EFT training programs including the foundational externship and four levels of core skill training.

They also provide specialist LGBTQ EFT training both in the United Kingdom and Poland, which is endorsed by the International Centre of Excellence in EFT and supported by the British EFT Centre.

You can find out more by visiting the AcRE website.

International Centre for Excellence in EFT (ICEEFT) – Worldwide

ICEEFT

International Centre for Excellence in EFT offers a range of training options worldwide in countries as diverse as Uganda, Hong Kong, Argentina, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Norway, Brazil, and Sweden, as well as many others.

They offer the standard EFT certification training: externships, core skills, and supervision, as well as specialist classes aimed at specific client groups or attachment problems.

For further information, visit the ICEEFT website.

6 Online Courses and Training Programs

This section outlines the highest-quality online emotionally focused therapy training programs available. However, it’s important to investigate which components of these programs are offered asynchronously and which are offered live (synchronously) to be sure you can accommodate the required time zone.

The courses on offer are constantly updated, so be sure to check the mode of online delivery carefully.

1. Psychwire with Dr. Sue Johnson

Psychwire

Dr. Sue Johnson is one of the founding developers of EFT and, together with other EFT expert trainers, offers the gold standard online EFT certification program at Psychwire.

The course provides 16 continued professional development hours to qualified mental health professionals and is offered over several intakes annually. Delivery includes video lessons, debriefed therapy sessions, and an interactive forum that is fully supported by accredited EFT trainers.

While this course does not provide full EFT certification, it does offer a thorough theoretical grounding in how to apply the principles of EFT to your existing practice.

Visit Psychwire, where Dr. Sue Johnson explains more.

2. Emotion-Focused Therapy Institute (EFTI)

Emotion-Focused Therapy Institute

The Emotion-Focused Therapy Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association and offers level-one training online using video conferencing.

It is live and delivered over four days through a combination of short presentations, video demonstrations, live modeling, case discussions, and extensive supervised role-play practice.

Additional training is also available in specific skills, like emphatic affirmation and self-soothing, as well as how to apply EFT with specific client groups.

For more information, visit the EFTI website.

3. Institute for Emotion-Focused Therapy (IEFT)

IEFT

IEFT is an Australian training program that offers a graduate certificate and graduate diploma in EFT, both of which are delivered purely online. You must have an existing counseling or psychotherapy practice to complete the supervised practice component.

The certificate takes three semesters, and the diploma, six semesters. IEFT offers three entry pathways, making it more flexible than many other options that stipulate that only licensed mental health professionals can apply.

Classes are delivered synchronously (live) for two hours a week, and students are required to engage with other online learning materials for one to two hours a week as well as complete assignments and practical assessments.

You can find out more by visiting the IEFT website.

Additional online training programs and workshops

In addition to these purely online training programs, the following training providers also offer online alternatives to some components of their campus-based training.

AcRE EFT Training runs an online, live EFT externship in collaboration with the Polish EFT Association PSEFT, which can be attended by English and Polish speakers alike. Specialist EFT training for working with LGBTQ couples is also available online. Other online workshops may also be offered from time to time.

BCEFT in Brisbane, Australia, offers a range of online EFT training workshops and supervision groups, including core skills and advanced trainings on working with specific client populations.

The British Emotionally Focused Therapy Centre has previously offered online training in core skills and working with specific client groups. Check the BEFT website for further information.

World’s Largest Positive Psychology Resource

The Positive Psychology Toolkit© is a groundbreaking practitioner resource containing over 500 science-based exercises, activities, interventions, questionnaires, and assessments created by experts using the latest positive psychology research.

Updated monthly. 100% Science-based.

“The best positive psychology resource out there!”
Emiliya Zhivotovskaya, Flourishing Center CEO

Resources From PositivePsychology.com

PostivePsychology.com has a range of free resources you will find useful if you choose to train in EFT. First, we have a selection of worksheets, including the following:

Anger Exit and Re-Entry Routines: The Pause that Refreshes

This worksheet offers guidance on how to manage anger in relationships by taking a break from communication to cool off before returning later to process the issues in a fresh state of mind.

The Win–Win Waltz Worksheet

To deal with relationship conflicts, this worksheet can help couples negotiate a win–win solution.

Emotion Regulation Worksheet for Adults

To help improve awareness of emotions in triggering situations and reflect on how emotions affect behavior, you can use this worksheet with your clients.

The RATE Worksheet

The RATE model in this worksheet supports emotional regulation as follows:

  • Recognize the feeling you experience.
  • Accept how you are feeling, even if it is unpleasant (like disgust, anger, or sadness).
  • Take care of yourself and find a healthy strategy to feel better.
  • Express feelings in a respectful way and help others to understand you.

Related articles

We also have related articles on EFT and emotional regulation:

17 Emotional Intelligence Exercises

If you want to invest in science-based tools, you could purchase our 17 validated Emotional Intelligence tools for practitioners. These are designed to enhance your clients’ emotional intelligence and help them connect with others more authentically, understand themselves better, and live a healthier life.

A Take-Home Message

Emotions provide us all with powerful messages about our internal worlds, our relationships, and our wider social environment. For most of us, emotions are the most direct way we have to assess our wellbeing and the wellbeing of others.

When we avoid the healthy expression of our emotions, our relationships suffer, and conflicts can simmer, explode, and even destroy the connections we human beings need with others to flourish and thrive.

EFT is a short-term, practical, and evidence-based intervention that aims to improve clients’ emotional awareness, expression, and self-regulation. The results are a more authentic sense of self and improved relationships. The demand for trained EFT professionals continues to grow, given the demonstrable benefits offered.

We hope you found these emotionally focused therapy training options useful. If you know of any other training providers not mentioned here, please mention them in the comments.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Emotional Intelligence Exercises for free.

  • Greenberg, L. S. (2015). Emotion-focused therapy: Coaching clients to work through their feelings (2nd ed.). American Psychological Association.
  • Greenberg, L. S. (2017). Emotion-focused therapy (Revised ed.). American Psychological Association.
  • Johnson, S. M. (2020). The practice of emotionally focused couple therapy: Creating connection (3rd ed.). Routledge.
  • Johnson, S., & Brubacher, L. (2016). Emotionally focused couple therapy: Empiricism and art. In T. Sexton & J. Lebow (Eds.). Handbook of family therapy (2nd ed., pp. 326–348). Routledge.
  • Wiebe, S.A., & Johnson, S. M. (2017). Creating relationships that foster resilience in emotionally focused therapy. Current Opinion in Psychology, 13, 65–69.

Let us know your thoughts

Your email address will not be published.

Categories

Read other articles by their category

3 Emotional Intelligence Exercises (PDF)