Facing Infertility Together: The Theory and Practice of Using Emotion Focused Therapy with Infertile Couples

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Shelly Smith-Acuña, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Deborah Fishman, Psy.D.

Third Committee Member

Lynett Henderson Metzger, J.D., Psy.D.


Couples, EFT, Clinical vignette, Infertility

Publication Statement

Copyright held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


We know from the literature that about one out of every eight couples (12%) experiences issues with infertility, and infertility can have negative effects on individuals and couples. Consequently, there is a growing need to identify and understand effective treatments for working with this population. Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) is one such treatment option. The purpose of this paper is to review the current infertility literature, outline EFT, and illustrate the clinical application of EFT with a couple facing infertility using a case vignette. It is proposed that EFT address the specific needs of this population and through shifting interaction patterns and deepening emotional bonds between partners, strengthens a couple’s ability to face the challenges of infertility as a united partnership.


38 pgs

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