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Emotionally Focused Therapy Books - The Therapist's Bookshelf
Emotionally Focused Therapy Books

Emotionally Focused Therapy Books

Over the past few years, I’ve fallen head over heels in love with emotionally focused therapy. You might even say I’m securely attached to it (haha.) I’ve gone through the trainings several times and I’m even on the steering committee for the North Texas EFT Community. My goal for 2021 has been to get everything done to apply for EFT certification and it looks like I’m going to crush it. So, I thought I would share a few of my favorite books that have helped me along this path.

Click on any title to find it on Amazon. Just a note, most links are affiliate links which means we make a small commission without costing you anything extra. You can learn more here.

EFT Books for Clinicians

Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection by Susan M. Johnson

This was one of my textbooks in grad school and is still one of my favorite EFT books. It is an excellent introduction to the theory and gives wonderful examples of what the therapy looks like with real couples. I think this is a great place to start if you are wanting a solid introduction to the research behind emotionally focused therapy and the techniques for using it with couples.

Becoming an Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist: The Workbook by Susan M. Johnson, Brent Bradley, James L. Furrow, Alison Lee, Gail Palmer, Doug Tilley, Scott Woolley

If you are interested in improving your EFT skills and like workbooks, you need this one. It can be used with The Practice of Emotionally Focused Therapy or you could use it on it’s own. If you’re supervising couples therapists, I think the worksheets and exercises would be an invaluable tool.

Stepping into Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy by Lorrie L. Brubacher

This is probably the book I would recommend most as an introduction to EFT. It easy to understand and implement into your practice. Ms. Brubacher teaches you the steps of EFT while showing how they help couples where they are. She also shares the language that you can use in your office so you walk away with a better understanding of how to apply this theory with the couples you serve.

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors: Strengthening Attachment Bonds by Susan M. Johnson

This shouldn’t be your first exposure to EFT but if you are wanting to take your work to a deeper level, this is the way to do it. Dr. Johnson shows how attachments are wounded through trauma and also how they can help us heal. Several years ago, she was asked by the military to help soldiers who were struggling when they returned home from war. She developed a program that helped them reconnect with their partners. Then she wrote this book that combines trauma treatment and theory, attachment science, and EFT techniques. The techniques taught here have been powerful when working with couples where one or both have experienced serious trauma.

Click on any title to find it on Amazon

Attachment Theory in Practice: Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) with Individuals, Couples, and Families by Susan M. Johnson

Attachment Theory in Practice is a must read for anyone wanting to learn EFT. Sue Johnson’s goes deep into the science of attachment and the practice of EFT. I had a bit of trouble keeping up with some of the clinical examples in the earlier chapters but overall it’s a great book. This one is special because for the first time, Dr. Johnson teaches readers how to apply EFT to work with individuals and couples. I wouldn’t make it the first EFT book you read but it should definitely be on your list.

Emotionally Focused Family Therapy  by James L. Furrow, Gail Palmer, Susan M Johnson, George Faller, and Lisa Palmer-Olsen

This is the first emotionally focused family therapy (EFFT) book. If you are interested in applying EFT and attachment science to families, this is a must read.

You can find a great article on EFT for LGBTQ clients here.

EFT Books for Clients

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Susan Johnson

Hold Me Tight is probably Dr. Johnson’s most popular non-clinical book. She walks couples through the path to reconnection. This is also the basis for Hold Me Tight workshops that are a great resource for lots of couples. The beginning of the book is a little slow and heavy of research so some of my clients have needed to skip ahead but the skills they learn from it are always impactful.

Created for Connection: The “Hold Me Tight” Guide for Christian Couples by Sue Johnson and Kenneth Sanderfer 

I see a lot of Christian couples and they have loved this adaption of Hold Me Tight. It helps them use their faith as a resource while they heal their relationship. This book contains all of the science and presents the same concepts as the original HMT and teaches readers how those align with Biblical principles.

Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships by Sue Johnson

Love Sense is my favorite EFT book to recommend to couples because it is the easiest to read. It doesn’t go through all of the steps or nearly as much research as the others but it presents attachment in a very accessible manner.

I listened to Love Sense on Audible and really enjoyed that version.

Emotionally Focused Therapy with African American Couples by Paul Guillory

There has been a shift over the past few years within the EFT community where I’ve seen more focus on minority voices. This book is a a great start for clinicians who want to better serve their clients and, I think, is an important step in a more diverse knowledge base for EFTers.

Click on any title to find it on Amazon

An Emotionally Focused Workbook for Couples: The Two of Us by Veronica Kallos-Lilly

This workbook is excellent an excellent addition for couples who want to keep working between their sessions. It is an excellent addition to therapy. I’ve also found it quite useful for clients who aren’t able to come in every week because they don’t lose their momentum as easily.

The Emotionally Focused Therapist Training Set: The Emotionally Focused Casebook edited by James L. Furrow, Susan M. Johnson, and Brent A Bradley

This casebook is a great reference for anyone using and learning EFT. Readers learn how to apply EFT principles to different client populations with case studies and descriptions of how this treatment approach is used effectively with them.

More EFT resources

I haven’t read the following EFT books yet but I’ve heard great things about them.

A Primer for Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT): Cultivating Fitness and Growth in Every Client by Susan M. Johnson and Leanne Campbell

If you’ve wanted to take the magic of EFT and use it with your individual clients, this is the book for you. EFiT is specifically designed to help clients heal attachment wounds and work through hard emotions individually. I’m super focused on getting my EFT certification right now so I’m trying to stick with just couples stuff but this is on my post-certification list.

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Emotionally Focused Family Therapy  by James L. Furrow, Gail Palmer, Susan M Johnson, George Faller, and Lisa Palmer-Olsen

This is the first emotionally focused family therapy (EFFT) book. If you are interested in applying EFT and attachment science to families, this is a must read.

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy For Dummies by Brent Bradley

This book could serve as an easy introduction to EFT. It was written by a certified EFT therapist and introduces readers to the techniques of this brand of couples therapy with examples and simple exercises.

Using Relentless Empathy in the Therapeutic Relationship by by Anabelle Bugatti

Dr. Bugatti hosts a fantastic youtube channel, We Heart Therapy, where she interviews experts in EFT. She teaches therapists to use empathy to reach even the toughest clients.

If you know of another author we should check out or a book we need to review, let us know here or tell us about it in the comments. Make sure you’re also following The Therapist’s Bookshelf on Facebook and Instagram.

Many therapists enjoy recommending books to their clients to supplement the work they are doing together. We also use books to help ourselves grow as people and practitioners. Remember though that books are never a replacement for real human connection or for therapy when it’s needed. If you find yourself needing a therapist, a great place to start is Psychology Today. If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.


Le Shepard

Le Shepard, LPC earned her MA in Counseling Psychology from Texas Woman's University in Denton, TX. She sees clients face to face at Wise County Christian Counseling and works with individuals or couples through her online-only private practice. 1000 Hills Counseling & Consulting. Le loves to read, adventure, and play with her corgi or kids.

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