Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples and childhood sexual abuse survivors

J Marital Fam Ther. 2008 Jul;34(3):298-315. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2008.00074.x.


This study explored Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples with childhood sexual abuse survivors (CSA) and their partners. Half of the couples in this study reported clinically significant increases in mean relationship satisfaction and clinically significant decreases in trauma symptoms, and thematic analyses identified numerous areas where trauma survivors were challenged in fully engaging in the therapy process. In particular, trauma symptoms such as affect dysregulation and hypervigilance were identified to play a role in the challenges that survivors experienced in fully engaging in the EFT process. Results of these thematic analyses yielded clinical recommendations for working with CSA survivors and their partners in EFT for traumatized couples. Recommendations for future study were articulated.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Anecdotes as Topic
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Marital Therapy / methods*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome