2015 EST Status: Treatment pending re-evaluation Very strong: High-quality evidence that treatment improves symptoms and functional outcomes at post-treatment and follow-up; little risk of harm; requires reasonable amount of resources; effective in non-research settings

Strong: Moderate- to high-quality evidence that treatment improves symptoms OR functional outcomes; not a high risk of harm; reasonable use of resources

Weak: Low or very low-quality evidence that treatment produces clinically meaningful effects on symptoms or functional outcomes; Gains from the treatment may not warrant resources involved

Insufficient Evidence: No meta-analytic study could be identified

Insufficient Evidence: Existing meta-analyses are not of sufficient quality

Treatment pending re-evaluation

1998 EST Status: Modest Research Support Strong: Support from two well-designed studies conducted by independent investigators.

Modest: Support from one well-designed study or several adequately designed studies.

Controversial: Conflicting results, or claims regarding mechanisms are unsupported.

Strength of Research Support

Empirical Review Status
2015 Criteria
(Tolin et al. Recommendation)
Very Strong
Insufficient Evidence
Treatment pending re-evaluation
1998 Criteria
(Chambless et al. EST)

Find a Therapist specializing in Emotion Focused Therapy for Depression. List your practice

Brief Summary

  • Basic premise: Emotion-focused therapy (EFT) for depression builds on Greenberg’s (2004) more general process-experiential approach that was designed to help patients identify, utilize, and process emotions. Depression is thought to involve inhibited processing of emotions and experiences, and the therapist provides a safe and soothing environment to reduce the anxiety and avoidance associated with difficult emotions.
  • Essence of therapy: Emotion-focused therapy includes three specific phases: Emotion Awareness, Emotion Regulation, and Emotion Utilization or Transformation. Patients learn to increase awareness of their emotions, deepen their emotional experiences, understand unhealthy emotional responses so that they can be regulated or used to generate more adaptive emotion alternatives, and to use healthy emotions to guide action.
  • Length: This therapy typically includes 16 to 20 sessions.

Treatment Resources

Editors: Michael Bricker, Ph.D.; Lilia Berkovich, Ph.D.; Rachel Hershenberg, Ph.D.

Note: The resources provided below are intended to supplement not replace foundational training in mental health treatment and evidence-based practice

Treatment Manuals / Outlines

Treatment Manuals
Books Available for Purchase Through External Sites

Training Materials and Workshops

Video Demonstrations

Videos Available for Purchase Through External Sites

Clinical Trials

Other Treatment Resources