February 10, 2024

How long does emotionally focused therapy take?

How long does emotionally focused therapy take



  • Factors that influence the length of EFT therapy
  • How long EFT therapy typically takes

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a type of therapy that addresses the role of emotions within relationships. Couples, individuals, and families seek out EFT to help navigate their relationship, address complex feelings, resolve relationship conflicts, and help develop a deeper sense of emotional connection in relationships. However, many clients wonder: How long does emotionally focused therapy take?

To understand the duration of EFT, it’s important to recognize that everyone’s therapy journey is unique. There isn’t a rigid timeline. Instead, the length of EFT therapy is influenced by many factors, including the nature of the issues, the commitment of the individuals involved, and the skill of the therapist.

Young Interracial Family with Little Children

Factors that influence the length of EFT therapy

One significant aspect influencing the length of therapy is the complexity of the emotional challenges being addressed. EFT commonly addresses issues such as communication breakdowns, trust issues, and unresolved emotional wounds. The more complex the emotional challenges and problems clients are facing , the more time it might take to navigate through and create lasting change.

EFT typically involves multiple sessions, with therapists guiding individuals, couples, or families through a series of stages. The first stage focuses on identifying and understanding the emotional patterns within relationships. This stage alone can take several sessions as individuals become more aware of their emotional responses and how they impact the dynamics of the relationship.

As therapy progresses, the therapist helps clients develop a better understanding of emotions and emotional reactions in order to foster a deeper level of empathy and connection. This process takes time, as it requires individuals to change ingrained relationship patterns and open themselves up to being emotionally vulnerable with other. The duration of this stage varies based on the willingness of the participants to engage in the process in an authentic way.

Grandparents with Grandchildren

Another factor influencing the duration of EFT is the commitment of the individuals involved. Consistent attendance and active participation are foundational for the therapy’s success. The therapist acts as a guide, but the individuals themselves must invest time and effort outside the therapy room to implement the strategies learned during sessions. The more dedicated individuals are to the process, the more effective and efficient the therapy becomes. It’s essential to recognize that EFT is not a quick fix; it’s a journey towards lasting change. Rushing through the process may undermine the depth of emotional exploration required for true transformation. Individuals and couples often find that the investment of time and effort in EFT pays off in the form of stronger, more resilient relationships.

The skill and expertise of the therapist also play a pivotal role in determining the duration of EFT. A more experienced and highly trained EFT therapist can often navigate more complex concerns couples have and facilitating a more efficient and effective therapy process. Because therapists also need to adapt their approach to the unique needs of each client, a more experiences couples therapist may be better able to personalize the therapy experience

How long does EFT therapy take?

The question of how long emotionally focused therapy takes does not have a one-size-fits-all answer. The duration is influenced by a many of factors, including the complexity of the issues, the commitment of the individuals, and the skill of the therapist. Typically I would expect the process to take 1-2 years, but more complex issues may take longer. Ultimately, about 90% of couples feel that the rewards of a deeper emotional connection and healthier relationships make the EFT journey worthwhile. (Learn more about the effectiveness of EFT here.)

Looking to start Emotionally Focused Therapy?

Elizabeth Polinsky Counseling provides online EFT marriage counseling and sex therapy to those looking to improve their relationships throughout the states of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Nevada. She also provided EFT Supervision and consultation for therapists looking to learn the model. Click the button below to schedule a complimentary consult. 

Book a consultation


Join the Communicate & Connect Newsletter

Join our bi-monthly newsletter with tips for improving your relationship. The newsletter is part of The Communicate & Connect Podcast which focuses on military and veteran couples; however, much of the information is applicable to civilian couples as well.  

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.


    About Author

    Elizabeth Polinsky is a Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist (EFT) providing EFT marriage counseling in the states of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Nevada. She also provides EFT training and supervision to therapists looking to become certified in EFT Couple Therapy. As a military spouse, she has a special passion for working with military and veteran couples, and is also the host of The Communicate & Connect Podcast for Military Relationships.


    My podcast, blogs, videos, newsletters, and products are general information for educational purposes only; they are not psychotherapy and not a replacement for therapy. The information provided is not intended to be therapy or psychological advice; and nothing I post should be considered professional advice. The information provided does not constitute the formation of a therapist-patient relationship.

    I cannot answer questions regarding your specific situation; you should consult your doctor or mental health provider regarding advice and support for your health and well being. If you are experiencing a medical or mental health emergency, you should call 911, report to your local ER, or call the National Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

    The podcast, blogs, videos, newsletters, and products are not a request for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement from clients regarding counseling. If you are a current or former client/ patient, please remember that your comments may jeopardize your confidentiality. I will not “friend” or “follow” current or past clients to honor ethical boundaries and privacy; nor will I respond to comments or messages through social media or other platforms from current or past clients. Current and past client’s should only contact me through the professional contact information provided on the website.

    ​Lastly, accounts may be managed by multiple people. Therefore, comments and messages are monitored by staff and are not confidential.