Secondary Emotions in Emotionally Focused Therapy
Therapists working with couples are often trying to alter interactional cycles that include three interdependent domains within each partner: affect, cognition, and behavior (Davis et al. 2012). When change is effective, shifts occur for each partner in all three domains, even if a therapist is not intentionally targeting all three. However, therapeutic modalities vary in the articulated mechanism of change. Therapists can think of this as what door they choose to go into as a clinician–open the cognitive door, the behavioral door, or the emotion door? In a review of the couple treatments with the most robust outcome research, emotionally focused therapy (EFT) is the only broad couple approach to use emotion as a change element (Lebow et al. 2012). In EFT, emotion is conceptualized as influencing perceptions and priming actions (Johnson 2004). When clients explore and own their emotional experiences, they can integrate feelings, thoughts, and behaviors and change their...
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