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Emotion-Focused Therapy Vs. CBT: Which is More Effective?

Emotion-focused therapy vs. CBT: which is more effective?

One study has shown that emotion-focused therapy may be just as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy in treating anxiety.

Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) is a newer therapeutic approach compared to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), but it's getting increasingly popular by the day. Considering how CBT is the gold standard, many people wonder if EFT can be as effective.

EFT recognizes that emotions play a significant role in shaping thoughts, behaviors, and overall well-being. It, therefore, aims to help anxiety patients understand and regulate their emotions, promoting emotional awareness and acceptance.

In contrast, CBT acknowledges that cognitive processes (how we think)  influence how we feel and act, and it therefore encourages patients to reframe negative or unhelpful thoughts. That is, while EFT prioritizes emotional exploration and expression, CBT strives to change the patient's thoughts and behavior.

Seeing how both methods target different possible causes of the patient's anxiety, it's enough to wonder which one is superior.

In an attempt to resolve that dilemma, researchers randomly picked 58 patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). They were split into two groups, one group receiving emotion-focused therapy while the other received cognitive behavioral therapy, both running for 16-20 sessions.

The researchers assessed the patient's conditions before, during, and at the end of treatment. They were also assessed 6 months later. Interestingly, both of them showed significant changes in anxiety and similarities in all the results, with the effects of the treatments lasting throughout the 6 months when the patients were last assessed. The only major difference reported was that while dropout from treatment was only 10% for EFT, it was 27% for CBT.

Ultimately, the study suggests that emotion-focused therapy is potentially as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy. And this increases our options as regards the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder.

Need help?

If you're battling any form of anxiety, we can help. At Hope Mental Health, we understand every patient is unique. So we offer different treatment methods and would prescribe the best suited one to help YOU on your path to recovery.

Get in touch now so you can begin this journey of transformation.

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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