What is Emotion-Focused Therapy?

Updated: Oct 27, 2020


"There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the emotional experience of the soul." ~ Arnold Bennett Unlike cognitive-behavioural therapy, which provides effective short-term coping skills, emotion focused therapy often supports you to accept, express, regulate, make sense of, and transform your emotions. * An emotion-focused therapist uses the following key elements as a focus of therapeutic work: (a) The provision of an empathic relationship to facilitate healing. (b) A nuanced exploration of all your emotional experience and the origin and dynamics of these emotions. (c) Encouragement to allow and accept emotions rather than cathartic repetition of emotional expression to "get rid" of emotion.

(d) Focus on and understanding of the interruptive (defensive) processes that interfere with your efforts to access your emotions. (e) Access to new uplifting emotions to change old emotions. (f) The symbolization of and reflection upon your emotion to create new empowering narratives.

Journal Exercise:

Reflect upon the emotional story of your life right now. Write three paragraphs about how you emotionally "see" your life at this point in time, and share it with me in your session.

With much care,

Shelley * Excerpted from Emotion-Focused Therapy (Theories of Psychotherapy) by Leslie S. Greenberg.

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