EFT Couple’s Therapy Changes the Brain

Typically it’s a significant health care concern of some kind that gets most people into an fMRI machine. Imagine that instead of a health care concern, it’s your participation in a research study that gets you into an fMRI machine. And, imagine you know that while you’re in the fMRI machine you’ll occasionally receive an electric shock to your feet! What would comfort you in that situation?

Previous research has demonstrated that the presence of others, particularly supportive others, will ameliorate some of the anxiety that comes with receiving a shock in an MRI machine.

EFT in an fMRI Machine

Dr. Susan Johnson, and her team of researchers took this research design and added in another element. They took couples in relationship distress and examined the effect couple’s therapy, in particular, Emotionally Focused Couple’s Therapy—EFT, had on the comfort level of the partner in the MRI machine receiving the shock.

Dr. Johnson explains what happened in the compelling little video below. As I watch the video and consider what’s happening in the brains of these two partners, I imagine a river. The potentially surging currents of anxiety are held in check by the safety of the emotional bond that carries these partners through the every day rough waters of couple life.


Post a comment below! Tell me what you think! I’d love to especially hear your feedback if you’ve experienced EFT, Emotionally Focused Couple’s Therapy first hand!

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6 comments on “EFT Couple’s Therapy Changes the Brain
  1. Irene,
    Thank you so much for posting this information. The study is incredible!!! What awesome validation for the EFT method!

    Elizabeth Lacey MSW RSW – London, Ontario

    • Yes, Elizabeth, it is good validation. Sue Johnson’s book, Love Sense describes a lot of research that supports the EFT approach. Her writing is engaging so the research she presents is actually fun to read. Sue Johnson is the originator of EFT.

  2. Jessica Zeyl says:

    I’m a therapist in Bloor West Village. I refer couples to Irene for therapy all the time. In the Greater Toronto Area, she’s been a pioneer and leader in the field of Emotion Focused Therapy for couples.

    I love this study of how attachment can change our brains in ways that help us navigate stress and anxiety. It’s revolutionary.

    Thanks Irene!

  3. Silvia says:

    I have always been enchanted and mystified by the power of touch and equaly important the emotion and intention behind the touch.

  4. Indeed. Thanks Silvia for your comment.

What do you think?