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Specialized Trainings

Advanced Master Class Trainings

2024 Specialized Trainings

Fighting for Connection: 
EFT & Intimate Partner Violence

with ICEEFT Trainer Jef Slootmaeckers

May 16-17, 2024  |  9 AM-5 PM EST  |  Live Virtual Training

EFT Atlanta Specialty Training


Research shows that intimate partner violence is rather frequent, even more so in couples seeking couples therapy. However, the subject of violence often remains hidden for the therapist. Or due to contraindication, couples seeking therapy are refused unless a primary treatment of the violence.  

The vision of this workshop is that, in many couples, the underlying strong, heavy negative interaction patterns is paramount in the violence. These patterns form a challenge for many therapists in working with these couples. However, sometimes the violence between the partners is the subject of the therapeutic process. In that case, it is remarkable that these couples mostly want us, therapists, to work towards a safer relationship where they can stay together and where the violence stops.

How can this be approached when violence is often seen as a contraindication for couple’s therapy and EFT? Based on new scientific knowledge about intimated partner violence and their experience, Lieven and Jef worked together to come
to a better understanding of this difficult relational drama. In this workshop we outline a theoretical roadmap how we can understand intimated partner violence from an attachment-focused point of view. And how we can use EFT in helping these couples to fight for a better connection. We outline specific interventions to use and discuses several important topics as assessment, de-escalations, the attachment meanings of violence, and the self of therapist. We will work with video material, role-play, personal exercise and make space for conversations. The workshop offers a mini roadmap that can be inserted in the larger EFT map for therapy.



Through a combination of lecture, videotape, and exercises, participants will learn to identify effective interventions in working with escalated couples.  Participants will also learn to help couples create or restore the emotional bond between them once the negative cycle, and the attachment needs that drive it, has been understood. This is a live workshop offered via live zoom; it will not be recorded for later viewing. 


  1. Learning how to differentiate Intimate terrorism and Situational Couple Violence. Only the latest is suitable for the presented approach in this workshop.

  2. Understanding Situational Couple Violence from on attachment point of view.

  3. Learning to place violence within the negative cycle.

  4. Learning specific interventions to create safety in the session with violent couples.

  5. Integrating the EFT approach in working with violent couples.

  6. Enlarging the confidence of the therapist in working with SCV.


On Day 1, you may join as early as 8:30am to work out technical kinks. We will have technical support available each day. 

Participants will engage interventions and process of change. Breaks and a lunch period will be incorporated into each day. 12 Continuing Education Credits will be available for purchase.

Day One:

9:00-10:45             Creating Safety                                                                                            

  • We start with a video clip from a couple who escalates in the session.

  • We ask the participants what they feel as a therapist when confronted with such a scene.

  • We ask what they need and hope from this workshop to be able to work with violent couples.

  • In doing so we demonstrate how we create safety around this topic.

  • Since violent couples who seek out couple therapy hope that therapy might help them overcome the violent patterns they are suffering from, we learn therapist to use the hope from both partners to create safety in the session.

  • We demonstrate the accepting stance of the therapist by welcoming and validating the couple with their hope.

  • We exercise with the participant to use accepting language to welcome the couple in their conjoint desire to halt the violence

  • We train some interventions to stop escalations in the therapy room.

10:45-11:00          Break

11:00-12:30          Differentiation between forms of violence

  • Because the EFT – approach is not suitable for all forms of violence we work around the

  • difference between Intimate Terrorism (IT) and Situational Couples violence (SCV).

  • IT is not suitable for Eft. At the other hand, SCV can be understood from an attachment point of view.

  • We train therapist how to differentiate these two forms when the encounter violent couples.

  • We explain and show how SCV is connected to negative interaction cycles that can be understood within the attachment frame.

12:30-1:30             Lunch

1:30-3:15               Violence in the EFT- cycle

  • We explain and demonstrate by role play and video clips how violence can take place within the negative interaction cycle known in EFT. We discuss four different violent patterns that are related to negative interaction cycles known in EFT.  We discus different attachment significance of violence.

  • We present a roadmap to understand violence in negative interaction patterns. 

  • We train specific skills and interventions to help therapist to reflect these violent patterns with the couples.  We exercise (role play) in tracking the negative cycle that leads to violent outburst. 

3:15-3:30               Break

3:30-5:00               Integration and exercise

  • We look at different video clips of sessions with violent couples of distances seeking and proximity seeking violence.

  • Based on the video’s we do some role play to learn how to reflect the interactional process of violence and meanwhile learning to work with the underling emotions.

Day Two               

9:00-10:45:           The Person of the therapist

  • We use experiential exercises to get participants in touch with their own emotions about working with violence and help them to recognize their own emotion as anger, rage and aggression.

  • In small groups the participants exercise in reflecting and validating these emotions. It’s our goal that participants experience the liberating power of being welcomed in these emotions.

10:45-11:00          Break

11:00-12:30          Helping people taking responsibly for the violent behavior.

  • Taking responsibility for the violent behavior in de negative cycles is of essence. Rather than a precondition for therapy we discus that this is a therapeutic goal on itself. We present how we can help people taking responsibly for their own behavior in de negative violent pattern.

  • We use the EFT-tango as a roadmap for this process.

  • We exercise to reflect the current process and to assemble the emotions underneath the violence.

  • We exercise (role play in small groups) to set up position enactments that leads to taking responsibility within the relation.

12:30-1:30             Lunch

1:30-3:15              4 tasks in stage 1 of EFT to de-escalate the violent pattern.

  • We discuss the therapeutic process that lead to de-escalation of the violent patterns.

  • We explain and describe the four different therapeutic tasks that help the EFT-therapist to guide the violent couple towards safety in the relationship.

  • These four tasks are:

    • Building a safe therapeutic alliance

    • Exploring the negative interaction cycle.

    • Getting access to the primary emotions underlying the violent patterns

    • Externalizing the violent patterns and attending to the attachment needs.

  • Specific interventions to navigate through these tasks will be discussed and shown

3:15-3:30               Break

3:30-5:00               Consolidation video and Q&A 

  • We watch in large group a video that consolidates the whole process where we highlight and show how all the material discussed in this workshop looks like in practice.

  • We end with Q&A and some specific topics 


This advanced workshop is appropriate for all licensed and pre-licensed mental health professionals including psychologists, professional counselors, clinical social workers and marriage and family therapists who work with couples who are minimally EFT Externship trained. 

***Payment is due at the time of registration.


Jef Slootmaeckers is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Belgium. He is a certified EFT therapist, EFT supervisor and EFT trainer (ICEEFT) and the director of EFT-Belgium.

Jef is specialized in working with Intimate Partner Violence and EFT. He started to work in a shelter for women and children. Later, he worked as a couples therapist for more than a decade in a specialized center with people suffering from violent escalations in their relationship. Now he has a private practice for EFT therapy and supervision. Passionate about working with trauma and aggression, Jef is always looking for ways how we can use all three modalities of EFT to help wounded people, couples and families to fight for a safer connection.

Together with Lieven Migerode he wrote a book (Dutch) and articles on EFT and Intimate Partner Violence. Together they presented the EFT and Violence/Fighting for connection-training at different places in the world. You can contact Jef at


A Continuing Education Credits have been application is being processed. Updates will be posted here once approved. 



Requests to cancel registration must be submitted in writing to Cancellation requests received prior to 30 days before the event will be refunded minus a $50 administration fee. Cancellations received 30 days or less before an event will receive a full credit of the paid registration toward a future ACEFT sponsored event, valid for up to 2 years from date of cancellation. Please note cancellation credits may not be applied toward Externship or Core Skills events. 


Atlanta Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy (ACEFT) seeks to ensure equitable treatment of every person and to make every attempt to resolve grievances in a fair manner. Please submit a written grievance to ACEFT to Grievances will initially be directed to the training instructor. Grievances would receive, to the best of our ability, corrective action in order to prevent further problems.


ACEFT training facilities are handicap accessible. Individuals needing special accommodations, please contact:

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