An Attachment-Based Approach to Emotional Disorders
Based on the work of Dr. S. Johnson
For Faculty and Graduate students of Historically Black Colleges and Universities
February 19, 2021
Lorrie Brubacher, M Ed, LMFT Trainer in Emotionally Focused Therapy
“Over the lifespan, the need for connection with others shapes our neural architecture, our responses to stress, our everyday emotional lives, and the interpersonal dramas and dilemmas that are at the heart of those lives.”
– Johnson, 2019 Attachment Theory in Practice p. 5.
“The evidence suggests that attachment figures, including relational partners, are incorporated into neural representations of self as vital resources that promote survival, the dilution of risk, load-sharing and the regulation of negative emotion, and so carry enormous existential significance.”
– Johnson, 2019 Attachment Theory in Practice p. 39.
EFIT: Emotionally Fit – Robust, Strong, Vigorous, Suited for existential living
EFIT is an attachment science based approach to individual therapy that, like the other EFT interventions, EFCT for couples and EFFT for families, offers an integration of humanistic experiential interventions focused on reshaping intrapsychic experience and systemic interventions focused on reshaping patterns of engagement with significant others. Emotion is given precedence because of its powerful role in structuring both inner experience and motivation and key patterns in relationships. Emotion links and organizes core experience and interaction.
EFT is best known as a potent couple intervention but has always, from its inception, been used in clinical practice as well with families and with individuals, especially with individuals dealing with depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. The most obvious way that EFIT differs from EFCT is that emotionally transformative dialogues focus on a client’s interaction with the therapist, with representations of attachment figures or others, and between aspects of self. It is important to note that, from attachment an experiential perspectives, the self is in constant construction – always shaped through interactions with others. In all modalities EFT addresses self and relational system.
This workshop will outline the theory and practice of EFIT, focusing on the primacy of emotion and the creation of a safe haven & secure base alliance. Core models of health and dysfunction will be examined from an attachment perspective including how within and between cycles interact and block growth and adaptation. The practice of EFIT will be introduced through a systematic sequence of macro-interventions, known as the EFT Tango. More micro-interventions and how to stay with present processes in session to shape key change events will be explored. Didactic presentations will be accompanied by the viewing of EFIT sessions and experiential exercises.
The goals of EFIT are:
- to offer corrective emotional experiences that positively impact models of self and other and shape stable, lasting change.
- to offer transformative moments where vulnerability, that is “frightening, alien and unacceptable emotion”, is encountered with balance.
- to validate the client’s sense of competence and worth in every session.
- to enable clients to move into the accessibility/openness, responsiveness and full engagement that characterises secure attachment with others.
- to enable clients to shape a coherent sense of a competent self that can deal with existential life issues and become a fully alive human being.
Participants will be able to:
- Describe the key elements of the attachment perspective on personality and its significance for clinical intervention.
- Outline clients’ within and between cycles: Describe how the cycles create each other and are linked to presenting problems that manifest as emotional disorders.
- Describe the core components of emotional disorders and trauma reactions.
- Outline the process of change and the elements of the EFT Tango, including assembling and deepening affect and shaping encounters.
- Describe the EFT micro-interventions.
- Outline the applicability of EFIT for different clients with different symptomatology.
|9:30 – 10:45||The attachment perspective on personality – health and dysfunction.|
|Outlining the EFIT model – Stages, Goals, Fit with Attachment Science.|
|11:00 – 12:30||The EFT Tango and micro-interventions. Viewing an EFIT session.|
|12:30 – 1:30||Networking Lunch with Community EFT practitioners|
|1:30 – 2:45||Viewing and discussion of EFIT sessions and experiential exercises – Assembling emotion.|
|2:45 – 3:00||Break|
|3:00 – 4:30||Viewing and discussion of EFIT sessions and experiential exercises – distinguishing Stage 1 and Stage 2.|
|Discussion and Q & A period.|