The International Centre for Excellence in EFT (ICEEFT) has laid out a certification process that leads to a meaningful credential in and the competent practice of EFT. For complete information on the steps towards certification, including pre-requisites, visit the ICEEFT Certification page.
The first formal step is an ICEEFT-approved Externship, 28 hours of training over four consecutive days. The Externship includes didactic presentations, video examples, observation of live couple sessions and guided role-play exercises. Participants come out of the Externship with a solid grounding in the basic theory and treatment process of EFT and can begin to utilize the model in their clinical work. See here for more info on Externships.
Core Skills is the second step and requires completion of an externship. It provides advanced, hands-on instruction in the key interventions in EFT and relies heavily on video review with discussion, observation of live demonstration sessions, extensive facilitated small group role-play, and case consultations utilizing participant session video clips. The training takes place over 4 weekends, spaced about two months apart, that move sequentially through the treatment process:
- Session 1 – Assessment and Cycle Delineation
- Session 2 – De-escalation
- Session 3 – Withdrawer Re-engagement
- Session 4 – Blamer Softening and Consolidation
Participants should also work through the EFT Workbook (listed below) to more fully understand and apply key EFT interventions. Attendance at all four sessions and presentation of a consultation with session video is required to receive credit for the series. See here for more info on Core Skills.
Eight hours of individual supervision (technically “consultation” since the supervisor has no supervisory responsibility for the course or outcome of treatment) with an approved EFT supervisor is the final training component. Most students of EFT find they require more than 8 hours to demonstrate clinical competence in the model, and most will benefit from working with more that one supervisor. The supervision may commence at any point after the Externship, but it is strongly recommended that Core Skills participants receive individual supervision throughout the course of the Core Skills series to deepen and integrate the skills learned in that setting. Supervision includes case formulation from an EFT perspective and the joint review of video clips of the supervisee’s sessions. Supervision sessions may be shared between 2 supervisees to have a broader experience of cases and save on the cost. Additional info on supervision.
Certification. Once the above training requirements have been met, therapists are eligible to apply for certification by ICEEFT. Key elements of this process include submission of session video excerpts demonstrating key skills, detailed case reviews of the couples seen in the video sessions and other supporting materials. See here for info on certification.
Group and Peer Supervision are helpful adjuncts at any point for increasing proficiency. Group supervision sessions generally include case consultations and discussion, often with expanded case formulation and impromptu role-play to help the therapist resolve therapeutic or self-of-therapist impasses. However, for those who complete Core Skills, no group or peer supervision or hours are required.
Finally, reading and integrating the ever-growing body of EFT literature is essential in fully understanding the theory and interventions. Especially recommended are:
- Creating Connection: The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (2nd ed.), Susan Johnson (2004). Brunner-Routledge.
- Becoming an Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist: The Workbook, Susan Johnson, et al (2005). Brunner-Routledge.
- The Emotionally Focused Casebook: New Directions in Treating Couples, Furrow, Johnson & Bradley (2011). Routledge.
- Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors: Strengthening Attachment Bonds, Susan Johnson (2002). Guilford.
Developing competency in EFT is both challenging and highly rewarding. Fortunately, the process outlined here, along with video recording and review of sessions, occasional specialized advanced trainings and the support of the local and wider EFT community – via peer consultation and the ICEEFT list serve, gives therapists a proven path towards competence – one followed by hundreds of other certified EFT therapists. Most therapists find that it takes several years of focused work to become certified. As with most other endeavors, the connection with and support of others, including the EFT community, greatly enhances the process and the outcome of the effort.