From Head to Heart: A Report on Clinicians’ Perceptions of the Impact of Learning Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy on Their Personal and Professional Lives


emotionally focused couples therapy, training


The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the impact learning emotionally focused couples therapy (EFT) has on the personal and professional lives of clinicians. One hundred twenty-four clinicians answered open-ended questions regarding changes brought about by EFT training including the integration of EFT into previous models of therapy, shifts in the actual practice of therapy, and growth in personal relationships outside of therapy. Participants described specific, welcome changes in their approach to therapy (slowing down, focusing on emotion, demonstrating more empathy and caring), as well as the difficulty of learning a structured, emotionally focused approach to couple work that required major changes for experienced therapists. In addition, participants highlighted unexpected yet positive growth in their most significant family and friend relationships. Results from the study suggest that the process of learning and practicing a model of therapy, EFT in this case, can play an important role in a therapist's professional and personal development.

Original Publication Citation

Sandberg, J.G., Knestel, A., & Schade, L. (2013). From Head to Heart: A report on clinicians’ perceptions of the impact of learning Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy on their personal and professional lives. Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, 12, 38-57.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor