A Parent’s Guide To Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT):

What is EFFT and How it Can Change the Way you Parent

All parents want is the best for their children, and fostering healthy emotional development is a crucial aspect of their overall well-being. And frankly, while parents are doing the best they can, it’s easy to feel hopeless and lost in expectations of parenting.

Here at Decade2Connect, we address these concerns and utilize a therapeutic model called Emotion-Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) into our treatment. We have found it to be a valuable tool for parents to foster a lasting connection with their children. EFFT is an effective therapeutic approach that can be adapted and integrated into your parenting practices to help build strong emotional connections with your kids.

So what is EFFT?

Emotion-Focused Family Therapy is a therapeutic approach rooted in the understanding that emotions play a vital role in shaping our behaviors, relationships, and overall mental health. The primary goal of EFFT is to help family members understand, express, and regulate their emotions in a safe and supportive environment. It emphasizes the importance of empathy, validation, and emotional attunement among family members to promote healing and growth.

First Steps in EFFT:

Validation: EFFT is rooted around the validation of emotions. Your children’s emotions, as well as your own, are valid and worth identifying. This therapeutic model teaches you and your family to identify and understand any and all emotions, rather than pushing them to the side or ignoring them. Validate your children’s emotions by acknowledging their feelings, even if you can’t fix the situation. Validating their emotions helps them feel understood and supported, as well as help them understand their own emotions better.

Emotional Expression: Create a space where your children feel comfortable expressing their emotions openly and honestly. Change can’t happen without connection and connection comes from being seen and understood. If your child is experiencing an intense emotion, try meeting them where they’re at instead of trying to immediately calm them down.

Empathic Listening: Practice active listening when your children share their feelings with you. Show empathy and understanding, reflecting on their emotions to let them know you genuinely care about what they’re going through. And in talking through their emotions together, the bond between the two of you will only grow as they see you actively supporting them.

Emotional Regulation: Once their emotions are seen and validated, teach your children healthy ways to manage and regulate their emotions, such as deep breathing, mindfulness exercises, or engaging in creative activities. Giving them these tools and implementing them as a family will prepare them for handling their emotions in a thoughtful and constructive way.

Emotion-Focused Family Therapy is a powerful tool for parents to nurture emotional intelligence and create a loving, supportive, and emotionally connected family environment. By adopting the principles of EFFT, you can strengthen the emotional bonds with your children, foster healthy emotional expression, and equip them with essential skills to navigate life’s challenges with resilience and compassion.

Our hope at Decade2Connect is to equip parents with sustainable tools to foster connection with their children and bring them to a place of hope and harmony. If you think Emotion Focused-Family Therapy would be a valuable tool for your family, connect to a member of our team to learn more.

Our Intensive Outpatient Program is in-network with United!