Graduate Diploma of Emotion Focused Therapy

Course Details

The Graduate Diploma of Emotion Focused Therapy is a specialised postgraduate course which engages experienced and qualified practitioners from counselling, social work, psychotherapy, psychology, health and human services disciplines in developing knowledge and skills in the Emotion Focused Therapy approach with individuals and couples with a broad range of presentations.

Emotion Focused Therapy works by supporting people to process experience by using a variety of therapeutic tasks for accessing and working with emotion at somato-bodily, cognitive, behavioural, emotional, experiential and creative levels in order to develop awareness and to enter deeply into inner bodily felt experiencing. Emotional experience that is often out of awareness is processed and transformed for the development of emotional health and wellbeing and the enhancement of relationships by understanding, assessing, and transforming emotion schemes. Students acquire a broad range of interventions for working in depth with emotion and are presented with a comprehensive model for case formulation.

Emotion Focused Therapy is a holistic and experiential psychotherapy that draws on humanistic, person-centred and experiential therapy, contemporary emotion theory and research into affective neurosciences. Its focus is on experiential body awareness and emotional healing.


Postgraduate AQF Level 8

Study Duration

Three years part-time

Delivery Mode

Blended Delivery

Number of Subjects


Credit Points


Degree Code


Edu​cating counsellors, social workers and therapists in Emotion Focused Therapy throughout Australia

The Graduate Diploma of Emotion Focused Therapy is a specialist psychotherapy training program, accredited by the Australian Counselling Association, designed to develop the knowledge and skills of Emotion Focused Therapy in practitioners working in counselling, psychology, psychotherapy, social work, and related disciplines. 

Emotion Focused Therapy is an evidence-based treatment model firmly grounded in deep relational engagement with a focus on an expanded understanding of empathy. EFT is well established internationally and is gaining traction in Australia.

The heart of the Emotion Focused Therapy approach, which is covered in detail in the Graduate Diploma program, involves the healing of emotional pain that is said to underly client difficulties. This healing process involves the development of awareness of emotional pain, accessing and expressing inner experience, regulation of emotion, coming into relationship with parts of the self, working with underlying needs, differentiating between a variety of inner experiences and transforming of emotion, self-experience, and relationships with others, resulting in personal and relationship well-being. Emotion Focused Therapy works with the inner experience of individuals and couples and seeks to access, understand and map, and transform clients’ emotion schemes.

The focus of the Graduate Diploma course is on understanding the theory and philosophy of Emotion Focused Therapy whilst giving students a strong grounding in practice. Students are expected to work with their own material in practice sessions. Guidelines for recognising task markers and facilitating therapeutic tasks and interventions using verbal and creative methods with individuals and couples are provided in each unit.
Students will cover the theory and practice of the Emotion Focused Therapy active experiencing tasks, re-experiencing and reprocessing tasks and relational tasks. Working with narrative and the creation of meaning in Emotion Focused Therapy will be covered. In the final stages of the Graduate Diploma in Emotion Focused Therapy, students will examine the EFT conceptualisation, treatment and transformation of anxiety, depression, and trauma.
The Institute’s practicum requirements are robust to ensure complete immersion in Emotion Focused practice and case formulation. Students are expected to undertake 250 hours of client practice hours in Emotion Focused Therapy and undergo 60 small group (6) supervision hours with an Emotion Focused Therapy Supervisor where they present both skills-based videos and written case formulations. Students present a final case formulation of 7,000 words following a format for EFT Case Formulation which is developed in a series of tutorials that run along side their final supervision semester.



Unit Details

There are 13 units (52 credit points) in total in this course. Students may choose to exit at a Graduate Certificate level after completing the first 7 units.

EFT102 - Foundations For Emotion Focused Work

Credit points: 7       

Duration: The unit runs over one semester (19 weeks)


1. Elliott. R., Watson, J.C., Goldman, R. N., and Greenberg, L.S. (2004) Learning Emotion Focused Therapy. The process-Experiential Approach to Change. Washington, D.C: APA.

2. Greenberg, L.S. (2015). Emotion focused Therapy. Coaching clients to work through their feelings. (2nd ed). Washington D.C: APA.

Foundations for Emotion Focused Work is an introductory core subject. The unit is made up of four smaller sub-units: 

  • EFT116: Emotion Focused Work 
  • EFT117: Working with Experience
  • EFT118: Experiencing Emotions
  • EFT122: Clinical Day 1: Working with Feelings
EFT103 - Individual Counselling

Credit points: 7     

Duration: The unit runs over one semester (19 weeks)

Set text:

1. Cornell, A.W (1996) The Power of Focusing. A practical guide to self healing. C.A: New Harbinger Publications

2. Cornell, A.W (2013) Focusing in Clinical Practice. The essence of change. New York, London: W.W Norton & Company

3. Elliott. R., Watson, J.C., Goldman, R. N., and Greenberg, L.S. (2004) Learning Emotion Focused Therapy. The process-Experiential Approach to Change. Washington, D.C: APA

Individual Counselling is an introductory core subject made up of four nested sub-units:

  • EFT119: Focusing
  • EFT120: Emotion  Schemes
  • EFT115: Multiple Chair  
  • EFT123: Clinical Day 2: Working with Patterns
EFT121 - Adult-Child Polarity

Credit points: 2       

Duration: 6 weeks

Set Text:

Webster, M.A. (2019). Emotion-Focused Psychotherapy. A Practitioners’ Guide. Australia: Annandale Institute

Adult-Child Polarity is a 2-credit point unit. Adult-Child Polarity examines the theoretical foundation for understanding individuals presenting with diminished assertiveness, a collapsed self, and high levels of reactivity and whose immediate felt experience is the experience of the child. The Emotion Focused model draws on the concept of parts of the self in order to conceptualize and work with adult, parent, and child aspects developed from past childhood and adult experiences. You will learn how to work with clients to strengthen their adult aspect and hold their inner child. Verbal and creative interventions will be demonstrated and applied in practice sessions. This work is an important foundation for experiencing work, as clients become aware of their reactivity and identify inner adult-child polarities.

EFT110 - Self-Interruptive Processes

Credit points: 2       

Duration: 6 weeks

Self-Interruptive Processes is the second sub-unit in the subject of Individual Therapy. We will focus on identifying and working with clients’ interruptions to their authentic, experiencing self, by supporting them to identify and change their underlying emotion processing difficulties to regain personal agency and take empowered action. We will understand how, when emotional experience and expression is interrupted, core attachment and identity needs cannot be met leading to helplessness, passivity, and other personal and interpersonal difficulties.

This sub-unit will focus on the self-interruptive split, the conflict between two parts of the self where one part performs an interruptive process against the self. You will learn to facilitate two chair work to soften the self-interruptive and self-controlling aspect of self and strengthen the experiencing, expressive self, to increase self-agency and the expression of need.

Students will learn skills for transforming the self through demonstrations by academic teaching staff and in practice sessions.

EFT 124 - Multicultural Emotion Focused Perspectives

Credit points: 2     

Duration: 6 weeks

Set Text:  

Sue, D. W. (2016). Counseling the culturally diverse: theory and practice (7th ed. ed.). Wiley.

Multicultural Emotion Focused Perspectives is an individual subunit in the Graduate Certificate of EFT. The sub-unit equips students with multicultural knowledge, skills and attitudes for working with a wide range of clients. As EFT practitioners there are ethical underpinnings to individual world views which often create prejudices and biases which are socialised and are on the whole unconscious. By engaging in a pedagogy about culture, valuing independence, autonomy, philosophy, religion and family, we seek to understand the influence and versatility of embedded identities and their influence on our beliefs and values both positive and negative. Increased awareness of stereotyping, privilege, poverty, racism, ageism, misogyny, homophobia and other forms of oppression, prepares the EFT practitioner in working with special challenges that may be important to specific client groups. For instance, how minority stress contributes to trauma, shame, interpersonal difficulties, self-criticism, lack of personal agency, anxiety and depression which are important variables for inclusion in the EFT treatment plan and building of the therapeutic alliance. The cross-cultural skills important in working with First Nations Indigenous Anangu – Koori Australians will teach us how to flexibly approach their needs sensitively. How a practitioner conveys their awareness of learnt biases, as well as historical suffering, often informs our clients of whether they can trust and communicate with us

Ethical behaviour goes beyond having an awareness of individual and cultural differences, to embracing a commitment to eliminate unconscious bias and discrimination in one’s EFT work. This commitment involves actively examining ourselves, advocating for those with less power, and working for social change.

EFT113 - Working with Shame

Credit points: 2       

Duration: 6 weeks

Working with shame will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the Emotion Focused formulation of shame as a relational yet often invisible experience. Primary maladaptive and secondary shame will be distinguished and explored, drawing on personal and professional experiences.

Shame is seen as a painful experience which can lead to depression, anxiety, addiction, perfectionism, poor life functioning, rage, and family violence. Antidotes to shame such as righteous anger at violation and neglect, sadness at loss, fear at the prospect of humiliation, annihilation and abandonment and compassion towards self with the development of authentic self-agency will be explored. Interventions for working with the self-critic, slippery and unclear narratives of self, interruptions to the authentic self and attachment trauma will be demonstrated.

You will develop Emotion-Focused interventions for effectively working with client presentations of shame and with inner experiences of humiliation, guilt and embarrassment, and related interpersonal difficulties. Advanced empathy and ‘Compassion Chair Work’ will be demonstrated to support the client to reduce defensiveness and experience an antidote to shame. You will explore, in practice, how experiences of shame can disrupt the capacity for relationships with self and others, and you will learn the implications of therapist shame for therapists as well as clients.

EFT106 - Supervised Practice 1

Credit points: 5       

Duration: Runs over 2 semesters

Supervised Practice 1 is the means of assuring the quality of connection with clients, and skill development. Supervision ensures ethical practice, including maintaining client confidentiality and managing risks to the safety of clients and others.

Supervised Practice 1 will be taken alongside your 125 hours of Clinical Practice in the Graduate Certificate of Emotion Focused Therapy. The process is designed to ensure that you will develop skills in EFT interventions and ensures optimal outcomes for clients. This subject will support supervisees in client assessment, case formulation, skilled application of emotion-focused interventions, and empathic attunement. Supervision will be provided in small groups of 6 or fewer via Zoom conferencing software from your own home or office with an Institute-employed clinical EFT supervisor. Students who have not completed their 125 EFT client contact hours at the end of supervised Practice 1 will undertake to either continue supervision via group supervision or can opt for individual sessions with an approved EFT.

You will present audio or video recordings of counselling sessions with client consent and identify the focus for supervision. Skills in case formulation and identifying clients’ emotional responses will be demonstrated and developed.

Exit point for Graduate Certificate in Emotion Focused Therapy

Upon completion of 7 unit at the graduate certificate level, students can choose to graduate to continue on to complete the Graduate Diploma.

EFT201 - Individual Therapy

Credit points: 7       

Duration: The unit runs over one semester (19 weeks)

Individual Therapy is a subject made up of four nested sub-units:

  • EFT202: Emotion-Focused Therapy
  • EFT214: Healing in Attachment
  • EFT215: The Therapeutic Relationship
  • EFT209: Therapy Day 1 – Advanced EFT Integration
EFT212 - Advanced Therapy

Credit points: 7       

Duration: The unit runs over one semester (19 weeks)

Advanced Therapy is a subject that is made up of four smaller nested sub-units:

  • EFT205: Assessment in Couple Work
  • EFT207: Emotions in Couple Work
  • EFT208: Couple Dialogue
  • EFT216: Therapy Day 2 – Group Process
EFT230 - Working with Anxiety

Credit points: 2       

Duration: 6 weeks

Working with Anxiety is a subject that focuses on the Emotion-Focused understanding of anxiety and associated worry and fear. Anxiety can be understood as incorporating primary, secondary, adaptive, or maladaptive emotion. The neurobiological, physiological, emotional, cognitive and behavioural impacts of anxiety will be explored. We will learn how to work experientially with clients to deepen their attention to internal cues, differentiate experience and clarify and order narrative. Focusing, enactment, imagery, and unfolding of experience will be used. Chair Work for working with and resolving the ‘Worry Split’ will be demonstrated and practiced. In addition, methods for working with negative appraisals of self, including negative self-talk and the processing of early experience will be demonstrated and practiced.

EFT231 - Working with Depression

Credit points: 2

Duration: 6 weeks

Working with Depression is a subject that will provide you with knowledge and skills in working within an Emotion-Focused theory of depression. When people who experience depression can articulate their inner experience, it is seen that they experience either problematic self-relations such as a strong self-critical aspect, shame and identity issues, perfectionism and self-bullying or alternatively self-other difficulties such as abandonment, annihilation, invalidation and being bullied into submission by another where they experience a loss of self, loss of another and deep insecurity.

Emotion Focused therapists provide a safe and soothing environment to reduce distress, support emotion regulation and reduce avoidance associated with difficult circumstances and emotions and process and transform self-self and self-other difficulties.

This subject applies the phases of emotion processing such as developing emotional awareness, regulating emotion, understanding unhealthy emotional responses, and using healthy emotions to drive action, transform depression, validate a new sense of self and reduce the risk of relapse. Factors associated with poor outcomes and contraindications for EFT in depression will also be explored.

EFT232 - Working with Trauma

Credit points: 2       

Duration: 6 weeks

Working with Trauma is a subject that will provide you with a theoretical foundation for understanding and assessing trauma symptoms within the Emotion Focused approach. Type 1 trauma which refers to single episodes of traumatic exposure and Type 2 trauma that relates to complex attachment trauma which may or may not be overlaid with further single episodes, will be covered. This subject explores neurobiological, physiological, emotional, cognitive and behavioural impacts of trauma on the experience of self, relationship to others, behaviour and upon awareness. You will learn how to establish safety, regulate distress and work with experiences of anger at violation and betrayal and sadness at loss. You will learn to assess for the sadness and grief underlying trauma.

You will learn to support your client to process losses associated with the traumatic event, encounter, or attachment injury. Working with secondary depression will also be covered. Emphasis will be on facilitating emotional experiencing. Working with the somatic and the sensory will be highlighted.

A feature of this sub-unit will be learning and practicing the imaginal confrontation (IC) procedure of Paivio & Pascual-Leone (2010) for working with trauma. Contraindications for EFT for trauma will be considered.

EFT206 - Supervised Practice 2

Credit points: 5       

Duration: Runs over 2 semesters

Supervised Practice 2 is taken alongside your 125 hours of further clinical practice in the Graduate Diploma of Emotion-Focused Therapy year. You will join a small supervision group (6 or fewer) via Zoom software conferencing where you will participate in supporting others with ideas for formulating their client material and with identifying markers and applying methods for client emotion processing work.

You will present audio or video recordings from your own clinical sessions, with the client consent. In addition, you will present written case formulations to the group. Supervision will support you to formulate clinical maps and recordings will enable the supervisor and your group to analyse task markers, and examine your working methods, your EFT skills, client processes and therapist processes in the session.

Visual recording: Students will need to have a visual recording of their work for the duration of the course so will need to check with their employer to see what needs to be put in place to ensure that this is possible. Internationally EFT training requires visual sessions to be presented.

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Course Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate in depth integrative understanding of the Emotion Focused Therapy approach and its foundations in Person-Centred, Attachment, Focusing, Gestalt, Existential and relationship therapy models and theories

  • Critically evaluate similarities and differences between the diversity of approaches encompassed by Emotion Focused Therapy

  • Conceptualise and identify emotion schemes in their work with individuals and couples

  • Interview, assess and work with a broad range of individual client presentations, including psychosomatic complaints, relational difficulties, and mental disorders

  • Interview, assess and work with couples with a broad range of concerns, including interactional problems, communication disorders, ambivalence about commitment, infidelity and other couple presentations

  • Evaluate the need to refer, and make referrals, to other appropriate services and organisations, including medical, psychiatric, child protection and domestic violence, in the best interests of clients’ welfare

  • Skilfully apply theoretical knowledge of the Emotion Focused Therapy approach to practice with a wide range of individual and couple presentations.

  • Analyse, assess, develop, execute and evaluate assessment and intervention in the Emotion Focused Therapy approach, including family of origin and childhood experiences

  • Work effectively with a broad range of client presentations by applying strategies to access clients’ inner experience, and work collaboratively with clients’ emotional aspects

  • Demonstrate capacity to self-reflect on practice and to identify ethical contraindications for working with clients’ emotional experience and couple work

Admission Requirements


An AQF Level 7 qualification (Bachelor’s Degree) or higher from a recognised sciences, psychology, social work, counselling, education, welfare, medicine, or health sequence of study


Membership or eligibility for membership of a professional association relevant to the qualification


Be working in a role that requires the provision of counselling (paid or voluntary)

A Vocational Education and Training (VET) AQF Level 5 or 6 Diploma, Advanced Diploma or Associate Degree in a relevant field


At least 12 months of working in a role that  requires the provision of counselling (paid or voluntary)




A 2-year minimum, non AQF professional training of at least 250 hours of face to face course work in counselling or psychotherapy where the program is accredited by PACFA or other recognised counselling or psychotherapy association


Membership or eligibility for membership of a professional association relevant to the qualification.


Long term employment in a clinical role in an organisation designated by the Federal Attorney General’s Department


Five years’ work experience in a role that requires the provision of formal counselling (paid or voluntary) with regular formal supervision

Clinical practice hours:

It is expected that students will have their own clients or will arrange placement or volunteer work to obtain the 250 hours of clinical practice for this course. At this stage we are not offering any placements for students, however this is an area that we may consider in the future 


  • Practice friendly education focusing on how to apply Emotion Focused Therapy skills in your practice.

  • Highly qualified, experienced and approachable academic teaching staff.

  • Easy to access online classrooms with subject curriculum and readings.

  • Supporting practitioners to practice therapy skills with constructive feedback.



This degree has increased my overall skill set and given me a distinct paradigm to work with clients. I found IEFT to provide a supportive staff and learning environment over the last 3 years of study with them. I now feel competent in a way I did not feel before the programme to take on challenges in psychotherapy. It has been an environment with a great sense of camaraderie and I have enjoyed the assignments and supervision. You may find the course challenging at times but it is well worth it. I couldn’t be happier.


Application Process


A qualification from a recognised academic institution in the arts, social sciences, psychology, social work, welfare, counselling, nursing or occupational therapy at AQF Level 7 (Bachelor’s degree) or higher.

Must also have included counselling skills training, and membership or eligibility for membership of a professional association relevant to the qualification. Must have employment in a role that requires provision of formal counselling (paid or voluntary), and be engaged in formal supervision of counselling practice.


A non-relevant qualification from a recognised academic institution, or professional training in counselling or psychotherapy accredited by PACFA, or employment in a clinical role by a relationship and/or family organisation designated by the Federal Attorney General’s Department; two years' work experience in a role that requires provision of formal counselling (paid or voluntary); engagement in formal supervision of counselling practice; and must attend an interview and provide references that attest to applicants’ counselling experience and competence from supervisor or line manager.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) 

Applicants may be requested to provide a digital recording of a counselling session (having obtained client consent). Applicants with a relevant qualification who have not completed counselling skills training will be required to attend designated counselling skills workshops provided by IEFT applicants with a relevant qualification who have not completed subjects on the theoretical base for counselling may be required to complete other theoretical studies prior to admission.

IEFT has an approved internal articulation pathway for applicants who have attended and successfully completed one or more IEFT Professional Development Workshops and assessment requirements. Applicants who did not complete assessment requirements will be required to complete a challenge assessment.

RPL is a process whereby knowledge and skills you already have may be recognised, irrespective of where or how they were acquired. Applications for RPL must be submitted to

Please note that the RPL assessment process takes up to 4 weeks from the day payment for the RPL application received.