Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples

Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples

by Leslie S. Greenberg PhD, Susan M. Johnson EdD


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This influential volume provides a comprehensive introduction to emotionally focused therapy (EFT): its theoretical foundations, techniques, and clinical practice. EFT is a structured approach that integrates intrapsychic and interpersonal perspectives to help couples create new, more satisfying interactional patterns. The authors illuminate the power of emotional experience in relationships and in the process of therapeutic change. The book is richly illustrated with case examples and session transcripts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781606239278
Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date: 03/23/2010
Pages: 242
Sales rank: 698,623
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Leslie S. Greenberg, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Susan M. Johnson, EdD, is Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa, Canada; Distinguished Research Professor in the Marital and Family Therapy Program at Alliant International University in San Diego; Director of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (www.iceeft.com); and Director of the Ottawa Couple and Family Institute. Widely published, she is the leading developer of emotionally focused therapy, which she teaches extensively in North America and internationally. Dr. Johnson is a recipient of honors including the Order of Canada--the highest civilian award given by the Canadian government, for outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the nation--and the Distinguished Contribution to Family Systems Research Award from the American Family Therapy Academy. Her website is www.drsuejohnson.com.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Theory and Research

Chapter 1 Emotion in Interaction 3

Emotion in Human Functioning 4

Model of Emotion 9

The Self-Organizing Function of Emotion 11

Communication 13

Intimacy and Emotional Bonds 18

The "I-Thou" Dialogue 20

Cognition and the Emotion Process in Interaction 21

Relational Beliefs and Testing 24

Trust 26

Summary 27

Chapter 2 An Affective Systemic Approach 29

Experiential Theory 29

The Interactional Systemic Perspective 32

Integrating Experiential and Systemic Perspectives 35

The Process of Change 40

The Evaluation of Emotionally Focused Therapy 47

Summary 53

Part 2 Practice

Chapter 3 General Considerations 57

Conditions for the Use of Emotionally Focused Therapy 59

Emotionally Focused Therapy versus Other Approaches 62

Overview of the Therapy Process 65

Summary 71

Chapter 4 The Initial Interview 72

Assessing Cycles 72

Establishing a Therapeutic Contract 79

Chapter 5 The Process of Therapy 82

Nine Steps of Therapy 82

Case Example: The Porcupine and the Armadillo 104

Case Example: The Wall That Separates: An Intrusion-Rejection Pattern 121

Chapter 6 Therapist Interventions 148

Task 1 Accessing Emotional Experience 148

Task 2 Changing Interactional Positions 164

Summary 173

Chapter 7 Clinical Issues 175

Issues Arising in the Process of Accessing Emotion 175

Issues Arising in the Structuring of New Interactions 178

Alliance Mending 180

Training Issues 182

Examples of Change Events Used in Training 184

Using Emotionally Focused Therapy to Address Individual Symptomatology 189

Contraindications for Emotionally Focused Therapy 193

Integration in Couples Therapy 195

Part 3 Effecting Change

Chapter 8 The Process of Change 203

What Are the Change Processes? 203

Observers' Model of the Process of Conflict Resolution 216

Do Interactions Change? 222

What Processes Relate to Outcome? 223

Summary 225

Chapter 9 Epilogue: Integration 227

References 231

Index 237


Therapists and counselors who treat couples, including clinical psychologists, social workers, family therapists, psychiatrists, and pastoral counselors; clinical graduate students. Will serve as a text in graduate-level courses such as Marriage and Family Therapy, Couples Counseling, Social Work Practice with Families, Conjoint Therapy, Relationship Distress, and Treating Couples.

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