Emotionally Focused Therapy

Successful middle aged couple happy by ocean.

 Dr. Alan Zwerdling is proud to be the first therapist in Monmouth and Ocean Counties to be fully certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy by the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy.

What is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is commonly regarded as the most effective method of couples therapy and marriage counseling available today.

It is the cutting edge, gold standard for empirically validated, evidence based couples therapy. Developed by Dr. Susan Johnson about 30 years ago, it has been shown to lead to significant improvement in 90 percent of couples. 

Emotionally Focused Therapy has been shown to be effective with married and unmarried couples, couples of different cultural backgrounds and couples with different sexual orientations.

It is effective with couples in which one or both partners struggle with depression, anxiety, low-self-esteem, sexual problems, trauma histories, or the pain and betrayal of an affair.

Emotionally Focused Therapy is based on a clear scientific model of adult love and the factors that cause distress and uncertainty in our relationships. It offers a structured road map for helping couples get back on track.

EFT is balanced in its understanding and support of men and women. It does not blame, shame or pathologize. Rather, it seeks to create safety and validation for both partners, and promote acceptance, empathy and connection. 

The EFT model is based on Attachment Theory, which says that adults have an innate need to feel securely attached to a partner, to know they have someone who is there for them, someone who will respond to their needs, someone they can truly count on.

But when things happen that make us uncertain about our partner's love or willingness to meet our needs, we become distressed. We stop feeling safe and start feeling disconnected. Our sense of security begins to slip away, and we start to feel unsure if we can still count on our partner to be there for us.

Communication and tenderness break down and we find ourselves acting defensively. We put up walls to protect ourselves, but the walls get in the way of closeness and connection. Pretty soon we get stuck in negative patterns that almost take on a life of their own. It seems like we argue all the time, or maybe we just pull away and hardly talk. The emotional bond becomes damaged and we start to feel fearful, discouraged, frustrated, and even hopeless. 

Emotionally focused therapy helps distressed couples by looking beneath the surface and understanding their attachment-related insecurities.  Couples learn to take down their walls, stop the patterns of negative interaction, and reach out to their partners in more loving, responsive, and emotionally connected ways. 

Couples who work with me using EFT learn to break old destructive patterns and create a safe and secure emotional bond they can trust. They learn to communicate in a new way that invites vulnerability, deeper personal sharing, and lasting connection. They learn to "listen from the heart" with empathy, and discover a deeper understanding, acceptance and appreciation of one another.  Many couples tell me they never thought they could feel this close, that they are more loving now than ever before.  


Is Emotionally Focused Therapy for Me?

Successful middle aged couple walking on beach.

You feel lonely and distant from your partner.

  • You want to feel close, connected and secure.

You are frustrated and exhausted from trying so hard.

  • You want things to be easy, and to know your needs will be met.

You are tired of fighting.

  • You want to feel understood, appreciated and valued.

You don't want to live like this, but you don't want to leave.

  • You want a nurturing and responsive relationship.

You feel invisible, like your feelings aren't heard by your partner.

  • You want to feel safe being playful, affectionate and sexual.

You feel like no matter what you do you never get it right.

  • You want to relax and enjoy the promise of life-long love and friendship

"My husband and I had a good relationship, but had gotten stuck in some unhealthy patterns (mainly lack of communication) that we just couldn't seem to get out of on our own. Things felt like they were getting worse and worse, so we took the chance of going to talk to someone. It was very meant to be that we found Dr Zwerdling, as I can't imagine anyone doing a better job in getting us back on track. We got to reconnect with each other and ourselves; at the end of our (only 2 months worth of) sessions, our relationship was 100x better than it was even in the beginning. He taught us to pinpoint the real issues and feelings, dig a little deeper, and be on the same team with everything. It really did seem like there was a shift even after the first session. He gave us space to discover things on our own and always knew exactly how much intervention was needed to keep us on track and get us to dig in the right direction. We owe our now-wonderful marriage to this wonderful Dr! " 

"My husband and I went to see Dr. Zwerdling during a very difficult time in our marriage. Dr. Zwerdling focused directly on our marital issues and helped us to empathize with what our spouses were feeling. He kept us on track and gave us tools to work with. We have come a long way in our relationship and we owe a great deal of that to Dr. Zwerdling!"

"My husband and I saw Dr. Zwerdling and he truly helped us work many things out in our marriage. Our communication improved exponentially and we learned how to really slow down our communication, which helped us break out of habits and patterns preventing us from really hearing one another."

Dr. Alan Zwerdling's private office serves all of Monmouth County & the Jersey Shore, including Red Bank, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Rumson, Navesink, Fair Haven, Little Silver, Holmdel, Colts Neck, Ocean Township, Lincroft, Marlboro, Manalapan, Oceanport, Monmouth Beach, Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Manasquan, Oakhurst, Eatontown, Tinton Falls, and West Long Branch.