Emotionally Focused Therapy with Lesbian Couples
Hsu, Jenny Hsuan Fang
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This capstone highlighted a literature gap in Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) (Johnson & Greenberg, 1985) with lesbian couples. The purpose was to fill the literature gap in EFT work for therapists, who wish to work with lesbian couples. I examined the following questions: Is EFT a suitable model for lesbian couples? What are the clinical implications of lesbian couples? Lastly, how does an EFT therapist attune with lesbian couples culturally? The last chapter included a case study illustrating EFT interventions with a hypothetical lesbian couple followed by clinical and research recommendations. EFT focuses on building trust and secure bonds between couples. Attachment-based EFT is based on a universal need for human survival in times of stress, threat, and ambiguity. Living in a heteronormative world, the impact of homophobia and internal homonegativity may interplay in lesbian couples' negative cycle, affect bonding. Growth-oriented EFT is suitable for lesbian couples. The caveat is that therapists gain knowledge of lesbian partners' cultural dynamics, know how to adapt specific EFT interventions, and attune lesbian couples culturally. The ability to attune with lesbian couples culturally relies on the therapist’s ability to recognize when minority stress interplays in their negative interaction cycle and the therapist's ability to be a temporary secure figure. Special content issues are coming out stories, the impact of minority stress, sexual identity formation, and social supports.