Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

Living Edition
| Editors: Jay Lebow, Anthony Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Restructuring the Bond in Emotion-Focused Therapy

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_206-1



Emotion-focused therapy applied to couples (EFT-C) was developed by Greenberg and Johnson (1988) and integrates systemic perspectives with an experiential approach. EFT-C views emotion as the force that organizes couples’ interactions and considers effect as intrinsically linked to behavior, thought, and motivation (Frijda 1986). According to Greenberg and Goldman (2008), effect works through three primary systems of motivation: attachment, identity/validation, and attraction/liking. From the EFT-C perspective, couples’ conflict is understood as emerging most fundamentally from the painful feelings emanating from unmet adult needs for attachment (proximity, availability, and responsiveness) and identity (having one’s sense of self accepted and validated) and to be ameliorated by positive feelings of attraction and liking. Partners engage in all sorts of behaviors – from expressing anger to withdrawing – in attempts to have their emotions attended to...


Emotion-focused Therapy Negative Interaction Cycles Instrumental Emotions Primary Emotions Secondary Emotional Reactions 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Private PracticeGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Psychology and Counseling DepartmentWebster University GenevaBellevueSwitzerland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Colorado State University, Department of Human Development and Family StudiesFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA