Emotionally Focused Family Therapy: Healing Relationships and Promoting Resilience

Gail Palmer, MSW, RMFT

Gail PalmerMay 10 & 11, 2019

9:00am – 4:30pm

Saint Paul University, Ottawa
Light refreshments served

Emotionally Focused Family Therapy


The Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT): Healing Relationships and Promoting Resilience seminar will demonstrate how Dr. Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy model (EFT) of working with couples is extended and modified to fit the family context. 

Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) is an attachment-based approach that combines both systemic and experiential interventions to mend broken bonds and heal fractured families.  EFFT therapists focus on the emotional experience within a family and the problem patterns that block family members from accessing the resources they would otherwise share. A primary goal of EFFT is to reduce problematic behavior by creating new patterns of emotional accessibility and responsiveness that offer a secure base for children to develop and families to thrive.  EFFT provides a practical approach to engaging families at an emotional level. Accessing, processing, and connecting family members through the power of emotional experience promotes healing and fosters a family’s resilience to the everyday and unexpected challenges of life. 

This workshop will demonstrate how the EFT model of working with couples is extended and modified to fit the family context.  Attention will be given to how EFT practice with families is different and what additional skills are needed. For example, how to process parental blocks to emotional accessibility and responsiveness while also keeping the child safe will be a dynamic addressed. Participants will learn a powerful transformative approach that is foundational in helping parents and children who are struggling with remaining securely attached.

Workshop Format

This workshop will combine didactic instruction, video demonstrations of family sessions, experiential exercises, and case examples to demonstrate the practice of EFFT.  Participants are encouraged to bring examples from their casework to explore the application of EFFT to their own work.  When possible, live demonstration sessions are included.


Gail is one of the Founding Members of the Ottawa Couple and Family Institute and Co-Director of the International Center of Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy.  She holds a Master degree in Social Work and is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist in Canada. Over the past 30 years, Gail has worked closely with Dr. Sue Johnson, creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy, and is an experienced supervisor and trainer in EFT. She currently offers workshops, externships and core skills trainings to mental health professionals in a variety of different settings across the world. She chairs the ICEEFT Education Committee and is responsible for mentoring and training EFT trainers internationally. Gail is an adjunct faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada and a sessional lecturer at Oxford University, Oxford, England.

Gail has a particular interest in applying the model with work with families. For the past decade, Gail has been one of the lead EFT trainers who have developed and expanded on Sue Johnson’s EFFT method as described in Johnson, S.M. (2004) The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection. New York, NY: Brunner Routledge.

This work has included EFFT trainings across North America, Europe and Australia/New Zealand, presentations at EFT summits, workshops at the Networker and AAMFT, publications in the EFFT workbook and casebook, articles in professional journals and the ICEEFT newsletter. Professionally, Gail’s primary passion is to help therapists who are both new to EFT and trained in EFT, to bring the powerful interventions and skills of this model to the family therapy room.


CCPA accreditation for MAGentix's workshops  
CCPA      12 CEC’s   CACCF   12 CEU’s
This seminar qualifies for 12 CECs for OACCPP members. OACCPP does not endorse or approve this training program or activity.   11 hours of MDPAC Group CE credits and and 1 hour of MDPAC CCI credits




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  • To be eligible for group rate, all 3 registrations must be registered at the same time, and paid with one cheque or credit card number.
  • Greater discounts for groups of 10 or more. Contact the team at MAGentix directly.
  • For student rate, a valid full-time student ID must be presented.
  • Above includes payment by credit card and cheque. Other payment methods.
  • Certificate of Participation will be given at the end of the workshop.


Participants will…

  1. Conceptualize family distress using theories of emotion and attachment.
  2. Identify the stages and markers of change in the EFFT approach.
  3. Identify therapist practices that promote a working alliance with parents and children.
  4. Practice key interventions common to processing attachment related affect.
  5. Delineate key practices of EFFT from EFT work with couples.
  6. Practice enactments used to restructure new patterns of interaction promoting new levels of safety and security in the family.
  7. Explore the relationship of secure attachment to family patterns of resilience.


  • May 10 – 11, 2019 | 9:00am-4:30pm
  • Saint-Paul University, 223 Main St., Ottawa, ON, K1S 1C4
  • Parking at the University for $10.00/day or public parking nearby.