So you’re thinking about getting certified? Those who complete the process and become certified develop a deep sense of confidence and competence in helping couples and families create the security and connection they long for in their relationship with each other. Here’s the process:
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. Here are ICEEFT’s requirements and application procedures for certification, and a helpful interview with EFT Trainer Gail Palmer regarding 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.
Certified supervisors play an integral role in helping other therapists develop confidence and competence in their work with couples and families.
- Certification as an EFT therapist for one year
- 4 years of clinical experience with couples/families
The application includes a place for your supervisors to sign saying they have agreed to give you supervision. An email confirming their agreement is sufficient.
Submit payment information on the ICEEFT website here.
- Minimum 10 hours of supervision between the 2 supervisors
- Completion of a course on supervision
- Supervision of a minimum of 3 therapists learning EFT
- Written summary of your experience in supervision (1000 words)
- Submission of two 30 minute recordings demonstrating your supervision of 2 different supervisees with transcripts
- A letter of reference from each of your supervisors
See the ICEEFT website for more information on becoming a certified EFT Supervisor.
Guidelines for assessing video to submit with the application are on the ICEEFT Members website, https://members.iceeft.com/, resources/EFT Certification.
Therapist Directory Disclaimer
The Chicago Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy (ChicagoEFT) is pleased to provide this therapist directory with information on therapists who have formal training in EFT. At a minimum, all therapists listed have completed the 4-day basic training, while others have completed advanced training and/or are certified EFT practitioners. Information regarding professional credentials, licensing and contact details are provided by the therapists and ChicagoEFT does not verify any of that information. ChicagoEFT also cannot guarantee the competence of therapists listed in this directory. Many listings include links to therapist-owned websites. These are provided as a convenience of the directory user and ChicagoEFT does not endorse or attest to the accuracy of these websites.
Users of this directory do so freely and at their own discretion. It is the user’s responsibility to assess the suitability of a given therapist for their own treatment needs. In no event shall ChicagoEFT be liable for any damages related to the use of the directory.