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Child, N. (2013). Gail Palmer Introducing Emotionally Focused Therapy in Scotland: AFT Scotland Conference, 26 April 2013, Edinburgh. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 3(2):269-270.

(2013). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 3(2):269-270

Gail Palmer Introducing Emotionally Focused Therapy in Scotland: AFT Scotland Conference, 26 April 2013, Edinburgh

Nick Child

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is said to be: “Carl Rogers meets Salvador Minuchin”. That may make the approach doubly challenging to our more reflective British psychotherapies, however much we all value its core of attachment theory.

EFT is a leading North American method of helping troubled couple and family relationships. Based on Bowlby's attachment theory, the therapist follows emotions to engage the vulnerability that lies beneath universal, but often counter-productive, protective attachment patterns of protest, demand, defence, and withdrawal. This may happen in a more unfolding way with more reflective approaches, but we owe it to our clients to learn the fullest range of effective ways to help them. Developed by Sue Johnson and colleagues in Canada, the approach has spread internationally. This conference with Gail Palmer was the first in Scotland.

This sell-out event was organised by the Scottish branch of AFT (the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice in the UK) partnered by other organisations that provide relationship services. So Gail was presenting to an unusually mixed audience, ranging from the eminent to novices in psychodynamic couple counselling and psychotherapy, and systemic family therapy. Prepared in advance for this mixed group and the more distant relationship between couple and family therapy in the UK than in North America, Gail's material, videos, and exercises introduced the theory and practice to show its relevance and efficacy for both family and couple work.

In a transparent, engaging, and responsive way, her presentation demonstrated the two main stages of the approach.

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