Emotionally Focus Therapy (EFT) from a Biblical Perspective By Cindy Krause
McMinn (1996) explains that “God created humans with volition allowing humankind to choose to be loving and kind, entering into meaningful relationships with God and others to exercise creative energy in work, play, and in setting and reaching goals” (p. 41). Social science labels this “secure attachment.” Emotionally Focus Therapy’s (EFT) goal is to promote secure attachment in relationships by establishing “a secure base from which to explore the world and deal with the problems it presents and a safe haven that provides shelter and protection” (Johnson, 2004, p. 187).
The Bible begins with the secure relationship Adam had with God, which allowed Adam to feel safe in exploring his community in the Garden of Eden. God, then recognized Adam’s need for relationship with others, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18, ESV). The model of these initial relationships expanded in the New Testament as Paul explains that the Church is comprised of “many parts, yet one body” (I Corinthians 12:20, ESV). The model of the secure relationships within the body of Christ, allows for a place of safety for each member, through the caring for one another (I Corinthians 12:25), to identify and explore his or her own potential gifts and callings (I Corinthians 12: 27-31).
The power of emotion is crucial in EFT as it shapes the interactions or “dances” among relationships. Solomon gives insight to the importance of emotions, “A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed” (Proverbs 15:13, ESV). The “sorrow of heart” threatens the core of who we are. This sorrow causes discomfort which motivates insight, and is a gift that draws one into a secure community with God and others (McMinn, 1996). Even in emotional distress, the Christian EFT counselor appreciates the hope of God’s love (John 3:16) that was expressed on Calvary as Jesus “borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4, ESV).
Unlike secular psychology which emphasize the escape from pain, the Christian counselor uses sensitivity to allow “clients to feel pain and brokenness” so they can “see themselves, others, and God more accurately” (McMinn, 1996, p.48). EFT’s focus on the power of emotional experiences and responses clients have in the present is suited to accomplish this goal.
It is my belief that the combination of the secure relationship with God and with others permits the Apostle Paul to declare with confidence, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, ESV).
Johnson, S. M. (2004). The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy: Creating Connection (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Brunner-Routledge.
McMinn, M. R. (1996). Chapter 2 Toward Psychological and Spiritual Health. In Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling (pp. 35-73). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.
About the Author
Cindy is following the call to be a Marriage and Family Therapist with a focus to build and reconcile healthy familial relationships through couples counseling, family counseling, and education with the insights of Emotionally Focus Therapy.
Cindy is attending Asbury Theological Seminary for her Masters expecting to graduate in 2016.
Cindy Krause attended Kent Christian College and holds a BA in Elementary Education from Eastern University. Married in 1992 to Brian, Cindy chose her high calling of being a stay at home mom of two children after the birth of their first child in 1999. Cindy has served many roles in the church and was a Pastor’s wife in Norristown, PA and Viera, FL for a total of 11 years.