Couples Therapy Around the World


Couples Therapy Around the World

Putting EFT to Work in Two Cultures

By Lauren Dockett

March/April 2022


Once considered a purely Western dalliance, psychotherapy now circles the globe. Even before the pandemic upended mental health everywhere, the field had gained momentum not just in its American, European, Australian, and South American strongholds, but within cultures that can diverge dramatically from that of the West: places like rural Pakistan, southern Malawi, Myanmar, and Iran. Trainings of popular Western therapy modalities have proliferated on all continents. At last count, the Beck Institute had trained cognitive behavioral therapy clinicians in more than 130 countries, and the International Psychoanalytic Association had more than 12,000 members, from Ecuador to Armenia to Korea to Senegal. EMDR’s international association’s trainees are not only working in their home countries, but have provided trauma relief on the ground during humanitarian crises in places like Mexico, Southeast Asia, and a dozen African countries.

Emotionally Focused Therapy, first developed by British-Canadian Susan Johnson in the mid-1980s, has also taken root across the globe, providing certification for therapists and conducting clinical research studies on the people it treats through the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy. EFT practitioners train and work in Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Africa, and Central and South America. But with its very Western focus on secure emotional bonds and demonstrative, healthy attachment in individuals…

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