A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis on the Efficacy of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy

A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis on the Efficacy of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy

Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 2022

Couple therapy as a field has undergone a great deal of growth particularly in the past two decades. In the realm of modern relationships, Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) emerges as a beacon of hope amidst the complexities of intimacy, communication and conflict resolution. This comprehensive meta-analysis delves into the true efficacy of EFT, offering valuable insights into its transformative potential to navigate the challenges of modern relationships, providing couples with a path towards healing and lasting intimacy.

The meta-analysis provides robust support for EFT as an evidence-based couple therapy approach, reinforcing its efficacy as a promising intervention for distressed couples. Approximately 70% of couples were symptom-free at the conclusion of treatment, with positive gains sustained up to two years post-treatment (Spengler et al., 2022). Stronger couple gains are associated with therapist fidelity to the EFT model, emphasizing the importance of adherence to EFT principles and techniques for optimal treatment outcomes.

The findings emphasize the importance of ongoing training and supervision to ensure therapist competence in delivering EFT effectively. Moreover, they have implications for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers involved in couple therapy practice and training. Spengler et al.'s meta-analysis provides compelling evidence for the effectiveness of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy in improving relationship outcomes, in addition to the need for continued research and training to further enhance the delivery of this evidence-based intervention.


Highlights from the Study

"The analysis revealed medium to large effects for pretest-posttest (d = .93), EFT versus other couple interventions (d = .44), and pretest to follow-up (d = .86), indicating substantial positive changes in relationship functioning."

“Across 20 studies involving 332 couples, significant improvements were observed in relationship outcomes.”

“Unlike previous meta-analyses, this study adopted a comprehensive approach by including various study designs, ensuring a thorough examination of the efficacy of EFT.”

At Feeling Good Institute, we focus on therapeutic approaches that include processes known to be most effective, including EFT for couples therapy, renowned for its efficacy in fostering deep emotional connections, resolving conflicts, and improving relationships.

Research Brief Author: Anastasia Morrison, MA, AMFT


Spengler, P. M., Lee, N. A., Wiebe, S. A., & Wittenborn, A. K. (2022). A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis on the Efficacy of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cfp0000233


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