PhD Scientific Days 2023

Budapest, 22-23 June 2023

Mental Health Sciences - Posters M

Do therapists change personally while learning emotionally focused couples therapy?

Somsák Zsuzsa, Counseling Psychologist, Couples and Family Therapist, prospect EFT Therapist, PhD Student at Semmelweis University
Dr. Török Szabolcs, Psychotherapist, EFT therapist & supervisor, Associate Professor at Semmelweis University
Dr. Scott R. Woolley, Distinguished Professor, Couple and Family Therapy, Alliant International University San Diego, CA, USA

Text of the abstract

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a structured and integrative approach to couples therapy, which is based on the pillars of experiential, humanistic and systemic approach. EFT views relationship dynamics through the lens of adult attachment and focuses on circular functioning of emotions. By understanding attachment needs and experiencing corrective emotional experiences, couples are enabled to develop safer attachments and thus improve their relationship. EFT has been considered as an effective, empirically supported treatment for decades, however only a few studies have been published concerning effects of training in EFT.
Our study contributes to the evolving research of measuring personal growth of the self of the therapists, specifically focusing on dysfunctional relationship beliefs, relationships and attachment styles.
Our research followed a quantitative experimental strategy to examine the impact of a 4-day-long EFT Externship training on therapists. We also investigated how therapists’ background characteristics and their improving EFT knowledge and competences (EFT KACS) related to this result. Besides demographics and EFT KACS, our questionnaire consisted of three other measurements: Relationship Beliefs Questionnaire (RBI); Experiences in Close Relationships (ECR-R) and Relationship Assessment Scale (RAS). 176 Hungarian professionals completed the questionnaire in March 2023 at two data collecting points just before (baseline) and right after the training (post), while psychologists who have not attended any EFT trainings were recruited to fill out our questionnaire as control group (N=87). A third follow-up data collection is planned for September 2023 for both intervention and control groups.
Post data will be compared to baseline and control group to understand how EFT Externship training affects attending therapists from a personal point of view. Follow-up data will be compared to baseline to examine if these were lasting effects.
By understanding how EFT trainings effect self of the therapist, we aim to understand more how effective therapists are trained and bridge the gap between empirical research and real-world psychology practices in order to provide couples the best available treatment.
Funding: book reward for participation was funded by EFT Foundation