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Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains

4 Day Externship in 

EFT Couple Therapy

Oct. 25-26 and Nov 8-9, 2019 

Thousand Oaks, CA 

With Certified EFT Trainer

Nancy Gardner, Ph.D.



The Externship in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is the basic four-day training in EFT and a pre-requisite for all other trainings. It includes an overview of all aspects of the model including steps and stages, interventions, adult attachment theory, and application of EFT with couples. The Externship material is taught with a variety of teaching methods including lecture, interactive discussions, role plays, video demonstrations.  The course includes observation of live, unscripted therapy sessions with real couples, presentations of attachment theory and clinical techniques, skills training exercises, and discussion of specific clinical material.

What Is EFT?

Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT) is based a comprehensive theory of adult love and attachment, as well as a process for healing distressed relationships. It recognizes that relationship distress results from a perceived threat to basic adult needs for safety, security, and closeness in intimate relationships. This experiential/systemic therapy focuses on helping partners restructure the emotional responses that maintain their negative interaction patterns. Though a series of nine steps, the therapist leads the couple away from conflict deadlock into new bonding interactions.  A substantial body of research now exists on the effectiveness of EFT, showing large treatment effect sizes and stable results over time with many different kinds of couples.

For more information about Emotionally Focused Therapy, please go to http://iceeft.com

Who Should Attend?

The Externship is intended for mental health professionals who counsel couples including  psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, clergy, and students training in these professions.

By attending, participants will:

  • Obtain a clear understanding of the basic experiential and systemic concepts of an “Emotionally Focused” approach to couples therapy.

  • Develop skills in helping partners reprocess the emotional responses that maintain relational distress.

  • Develop skills in helping partners shape new interaction patterns and bonding events.

  • Develop skills to overcome therapeutic impasses with couples.

  • Delineate the steps and stages of the model, interventions most commonly used, and methods to use with couples' underlying interactional patterns.
  • (See below for specific learning objective for each day).


Nancy Gardner, Ph.D., is a co-founder and Executive Director of the Los Angeles Center for EFT (LACEFT), a licensed psychologist  with a clinical practice in Westlake Village, CA.  Dr. Gardner has been a mental health professional for over forty years.  She taught couple therapy for over a decade at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in Los Angeles.  Dr. Gardner is an ICEEFT Certified Trainer, Therapist and Supervisor in  Emotionally Focused Therapy, a AAMFT Approved Supervisor, and a Past President of the Los Angeles County Psychological Association (LACPA).  To learn more about Dr. Gardner, go to NancyGardnerPh.D.com.  Dr. Gardner will teach most of this Externship.


Here are some comments from therapists who attended recent externships led by Drs. Gardner and Irwin:

This was one of the most outstanding workshops I have attending so far in my training.  I really appreciated the variety of learning experiences through seeing different EFT therapists, live sessions, different coaching.

This exceeded my expectations.  I could apply what I learned right away in my practice.

This course was taught with compassion which created a safe, nurturing environment.

I thought it was thorough and inspiring and challenging without being overwhelming.

It was fantastic.  Excellent integration of theory and how to apply it.

I really appreciated the externship.  It has allowed me to deepen my work.

I learned so much that was new and inspiring, in particular, slowing down and deepening the emotional experience for the client.

Nancy was amazing.  Very real.

I really enjoyed Nancy's style of teaching.  She is authentic and patient

Other details regarding the Externship

*This workshop is an ICEEFT-approved prerequisite course for certification in Emotionally Focused Therapy.

This is a 4-day externship offered over two 2-day blocks.  Participants must attend all four days in order to receive CE credit and a certificate of completion from ICEEFT.

This training is sponsored by the Los Angeles Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy (LACEFT).  LACEFT is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  LACEFT is also approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapist (CAMFT) to sponsor continuing education for LMFT's, LCSW's,and LPP's.  LACEFT maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.

28 hours of continuing education credits can be earned by attending this program in its entirety.

Time and Location Details:  The Externship will meet each of the four days from 8:30AM until 5:00PM.                                                                                                   The location in Thousand Oaks is the Courtyard by Marriott, 1710 Newbury Rd.

Recommended Reading

Johnson, S.M. (2019) Attachment Theory in Practice: EFT with Individuals, Couples and Families. New York: Guilford Press.

Johnson, S.M.(2004)  The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection, 2nd edition. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

Johnson, S.M.,Bradley, B., Furrow, J., Lee, A., Palmer, G., Tilley, D., Woolley, S. (2005) Becoming an Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

Brubacker, L.L. (2018) Stepping into Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. Karnac Books Ltd, London.

Refund Policy:  

Refunds can be made until two weeks before the Externship starting date.   There will be a $75 administrative charge.

Accommodations for Special Needs:  

Contact me at [email protected] if you need special accommodations


Responses to grievences will be made within thirty days.  If you have a grievance about this program, please contact Dr. Karen Shore. Ph.D., President of the LA Center for EFT, at [email protected]

Specific Educational Objectives for each day: .
Day 1: Introduction to Couple Distress, Attachment Theory, Process of EFT
1. Describe the nature and causes of marital distress
2. Describe basic Attachment Theory and how it informs working with couples in EFT.
3. Describe the systemic and experiential elements of EFT.
4. Describe change factors involved in a couple moving from distress to recovery.
5. Describe the Nine Steps and Three Stages of EFT.
6. Practice the basic empathy skills that are central to the therapeutic process in EFT .

Day 2: Assessment, Alliance Stage 1 (Steps 1-4 of EFT)
1. Describe and practice assessment skills in EFT (Steps 1 & 2).
2. Describe and practice how to create a therapeutic alliance using: empathic attunement, validation, acceptance, genuineness.
3. Describe and practice how to enter experience of partners to find out how each constructs his/her experience of their relationship.
4. Describe and practice how to track and frame the sequences of interaction that perpetuate couples' distress.                                      5. Describe the difference between primary and secondary emotions.
6. Describe and practice how to frame the negative cycle (e.g., pursue/withdraw) emphasizing attachment needs (e.g., closeness,          connection, importance of the other, fear of loss).

Day 3: EFT Interventions and Change Events Stage 2 (Steps 5-7 of EFT)
1. Describe systemic and experiential theories that underlie EFT interventions.
2. Describe and practice the basic EFT interventions for working with emotion, i.e. reflection, validation, evocative responding,             empathic conjecture and heightening.
3. Describe and practice how to use RISSSC to heighten emotional experience.
4. Describe and practice how to facilitate interaction between partners by using enactments.
5. Explain how to put the interventions together to facilitate change events.
6. Describe the three change events in EFT: de-escalation, withdrawer engagement and pursuer softening.
7. Describe and practice the skills of accessing, exploring and deepening emotion.
8. Describe and practice the skills of facilitating acceptance.
9. Describe how to choreograph change events using enactments.

Day 4: Becoming an EFT Therapist/Attachment Injuries
1. Explain attachment injuries from an Attachment Theory perspective.
2. Explain the steps toward resolving attachment injuries, creating forgiveness.
4. Describe and practice EFT skills toward resolving attachment injuries.                                                                                                  5. Describe EFT skills as they apply to individuals and families.
6. Describe an EFT approach to managing co-morbidities                                                                                                                          7. Summarize ways to continue learning EFT and refining skills in this method of therapy.

ICEEFT Stance on Diversity: Dr. Gardner is certified by ICEEFT, and abide by the following stance adopted by ICEEFT

We aim to cultivate a climate of inclusion, an environment where all can feel safe, valued, cared for, and given an opportunity to form meaningful connections with each other. In all facets of our work we strive to embody what we hope to see in the world - a just, loving humanity and community in which people are free to be themselves fully - where people can embrace their most basic universal human attachment needs without fear of persecution or marginalization as a result of religion, race, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, class, mental health, physical character or disability. These values are inherent in the attachment science and humanistic approach to intervention that all our work is based on.Specifically, humanistic approaches such as EFT are collaborative and respectful. We create a safe place for people and treat them as persons not problems or types. Our approach is non-pathologizing in practice. Our values are inclusive and egalitarian while viewing human connection as sacred - something to be honoured and cultivated. Our scientific and theoretical base outlines key universals, emotion and attachment, while respecting individual difference