Emotionally Focused Therapy with Couples and Betrayal Trauma Through an Attachment Lens

Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFCT) is an empirically validated therapy, based in attachment science (Johnson, 2019). This workshop comprises two closely related parts.


Dr Jennifer Fitzgerald

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Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFCT) is an empirically validated  therapy, based in attachment science (Johnson, 2019).  This workshop comprises two closely related parts. 

Part 1 gives a brief overview of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), its overall model and key interventions.  The repair of attachment injuries (Johnson, Makinen & Millikin, 2001; Johnson, 2005; Makinen & Johnson, 2006) will be outlined. The course also orientates participants to the influential role of Carl Rogers (1961), John Bowlby (1969,1973; 1980)  and Magda Arnold (1960) in the  theoretical foundations of EFT.  A clinical clip of a recording with a couple presenting with infidelity will be shown  to introduce the audience to the validating, respectful style of EFT work with couples traumatised by infidelity.  

Part 2 will discuss the specific emotions of hurt, jealousy, guilt and shame which are typically targeted in the Attachment Injury Repair Model.  The process of repair will be outlined and recordings from work with two couples will be shown.  The role of forgiveness of partner and self in the repair process will also be considered.  This workshop aims to provide an overview understanding of the experience and repair of infidelity-related injury. This will include recognition and de-escalation of negative patterns of interaction involving hurt, shame and anger, and support to enable partners to share their vulnerable emotions with each other, in order to facilitate healing. 

After the workshop, participants will be able to recognise an attachment injury in a distressed couple, and have foundation skills in healing the pain of infidelity in couple relationships.  Readings will be provided to strengthen understanding of this important topic for relationship therapists. 

This practical workshop is delivered in a multi-modal format including immersive and experiential training via role-play, group activities, and observation in addition to traditional teaching strategies.

Target Audience

This workshop is suitable for mental health professionals interested in working with couples:

  • Social Workers  
  • Family Therapists
  • Medical Social Workers working in hospitals and medical institutions
  • Psychologists and Counsellors
  • Psychiatrists

2 sessions of 4 hours each.

Learning Objectives:

Part A: Emotionally Focused Therapy with Couples

  • Participants will learn about EFT as attachment theory in practice.
  • Participants will learn the 3 stages and 9 steps in Emotionally Focused Therapy, moving couples from distress to integration.
  • Participants will also understand the influence of the work of Magna Arnold, Carl Rogers and John Bowlby in the development of EFT. 
  • Participants will be able to identify key interventions in EFT, and know how to use them to create an EFT Tango (key interventions within a session)
  • Participants will view a clip of an EFT trainer working with a couple distressed by a recent betrayal.

Part B: Working with repair of attachment injury

  • Following recommendations of the Attachment Injury Repair Model, participants will be informed about the key emotions of hurt, shame, guilt and fear.  Processing these emotions with a view to healing the pain of the of the attachment injury will be explained and demonstrated with clips of recordings with two couples. 
  • The significance of heartfelt apology and sincere forgiveness in resolving attachment injuries will be discussed.  Forgiveness of self and other will be briefly considered.


Arnold, M. B. (1960). Emotion and personality. New York: Columbia University Press.

Bowlby, J. (1944). Forty-four juvenile thieves: Their characters and home life. International Journal of Psychoanalysis , 25, 19-52.

Johnson, S.  (2019). Attachment theory in practice: Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) with Individuals, Couples, and Families. The Guilford Press New York London

Johnson, S.M. (2005). Broken bonds: An emotionally focused approach to infidelity.  Journal or Relationship and Family Therapy, 4(2/3), 17-19

Johnson, S.M.,  Makinen, J. & Millikin, J. (2001). Attachment injuries in couple relationships:  A new perspective in impasses in couples therapy.  Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 27, 145-155.

Makinen, J. & Johnson, S.M. (2006).  Resolving attachment injuries in couples using EFT: Steps toward forgiveness and reconciliation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74, 1055-1064.

Rogers, C.(1961).  On Becoming a Person. Boston Houghton Mifflin.

About the Trainer

Dr Jennifer Fitzgerald
Dr Jennifer Fitzgerald holds a Bachelor (Hon) degree and a doctorate degree from the University of Queensland). Jenny’s PhD research in hurt and forgiveness in couple relationships was supervised by adult attachment scholar Dr Judith Feeney.Jenny, as she likes to be called, is the founding director of Emotionally Focused Therapy & Training Australia, a psychology and counselling clinic in Brisbane, Australia. She is a Certified EFT therapist, supervisor and trainer with the International Centre for EFT (ICEEFT), Canada.Jenny’s career is illustrious. From 2002 to 2021, Jenny divided her time working as a clinical psychologist and being employed at The University of Queensland (UQ), Discipline of Psychiatry where her role included coordinating the Clinical Communication Skills Program for MBBS and MD students and co-ordinating courses in the Clinical Psychology program.Jenny has taught EFT for Couples workshops in all states and territories of Australia and in South Africa, New Zealand and online.Jenny’s research and conference presentations include: She presented (with Dr Clare Rosoman) at three international conferences focusing on Attachment and Sexuality in New York (2015), Rome (2017) and Athens (2018). She co-edited (with Michele Groves) Communication Skills for Medicine (2010), and Psychosocial Dimensions of Medicine (2016), with Gerard Byrne. IP Communications Melbourne. she co-authored with Veronica Kallos-Lilly, An emotionally focused workbook for couples: The two of us (2015; 2022,) Routledge New York. (The first edition also published in Dutch, German, Polish, Korean, Japanese and Hungarian). She is Editor of Foundations for couples’ therapy: Research for the real world (2017) Routledge New York. Jenny’s previous career involved training and work as a Registered Nurse and a Hospital Chaplain, with a special interest in palliative care.

Available Funding

Normal Fees: S$580
SkillsFuture Credit: Can be used to pay course fee fully or partially
NTUC UTAP: NTUC union members enjoy 50% unfunded course fee support, capped at $250 or $500 (aged 40 years old and above)
NCSS VCF Pre- Approval Funding: $174
​​Schools & Ministries: e-invoicing via vendor.gov