Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Primary Maladaptive Emotions in Emotion-Focused Therapy

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_202-1


Emotion-focused therapy for couples (EFT-C) is a blend of systemic and experiential therapies designed to enhance couple interaction by decreasing escalating conflict and increasing vulnerable emotional expression between partners. First developed by Les Greenberg and Sue Johnson in 1988, Les Greenberg and Rhonda Goldman expanded the original model to include five stages. In EFT-C, transforming interpersonal interactions within a couple is largely dependent on partners’ ability to learn to access and express core emotions to one another. Core emotions are also referred to as primary emotions in emotion theory, and they can be adaptive or maladaptive in nature. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of EFT-C in that it helps couples express primary adaptive emotions and transform primary maladaptive emotions. A more detailed description of emotion theory tenets and primary maladaptive emotions is discussed below.

Theoretical Context for Concept

Emotion theory posits...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Illinois School of Professional PsychologyArgosy UniversityChicagoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam R. Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA