Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 25–31 | Cite as

Emotion-focused Therapy: The Transforming Power of Affect

  • Alberta E. Pos
  • Leslie S. Greenberg
Original Paper


Emotion-focused therapy (EFT) is an empirically supported humanistic treatment that views emotion as fundamental to experience, as contributing to both adaptive and maladaptive functioning, and as essential to therapeutic change. EFT combines both following and guiding the client’s experiential process, emphasizing the importance of both relationship and intervention skills. Utilizing markers of particular emotional processing difficulties at the core of client problems, therapists intervene with matched interventions aimed to resolve the emotional processing difficulty. This process helps clients access new adaptive emotional resources, transform maladaptive emotional responses, address emotional interruption and regulation, make sense of experience, and construct new meaning and self-narrative.


Emotion focused therapy 


  1. Damasio, A. R. (1994). Descartes’ error: Emotion, reason, and the human brain. New York, NY: G. P.Putnam.Google Scholar
  2. Elliot, R., Watson, J. E., Goldman, R. N., & Greenberg, L. S. (2004). Learning Emotion-focused therapy: The Process–Experiential approach to change. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  3. Gendlin, E. (1996). Focusing oriented psychotherapy. New York: Guildford.Google Scholar
  4. Greenberg, L. S. (2002). Emotion-focused therapy: Coaching clients to work through their feelings. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  5. Greenberg, L. S., & Johnson, S. M. (1988). Emotionally focused therapy for couples. New York, NY: Guildford.Google Scholar
  6. Greenberg, L. S., & Paivio, S. C. (1997). Working with emotions in psychotherapy. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  7. Greenberg, L. S., & Watson, J. C. (2006). Emotion-focused therapy for depression. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  8. Greenberg, L. S., Rice, L. N., & Elliott, R. K. (1993). Facilitating emotional change: The moment-by-moment process. New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  9. Greenberg, L. S., & Safran, J. D. (1987). Emotion in psychotherapy: Affect, cognition, and the process of change. New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  10. Perls, F., Hefferline, R. F. & Goodman, P. (1951). Gestalt therapy. NY: Dell.Google Scholar
  11. Rice, L. N. (1974). The evocative function of the therapist. In D. Wexler & L. N. Rice (Eds.). Innovations in client-centered therapy (pp. 289-311). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  12. Rogers, C. R. (1951). Client-centered therapy: Its current practice, implications, and theory. Oxford, England: Houghton Mifflin., C.R. (1951).Google Scholar
  13. Rogers, C. R. (1957). The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21, 95–103.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Samoilov, A., & Marvin, G. (2000). Role of emotion in cognitive-behavior therapy. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 7(4), 373–385.Google Scholar
  15. Teasdale, J. D. (1999). Emotional processing, three modes of mind and the prevention of relapse in depression. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 37(Supp 1), S53–S77.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberta E. Pos
    • 1
  • Leslie S. Greenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.York UniversityTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations