Emotion is considered complicated and there is no universally accepted definition of emotion in the dictionary. What is understood is that emotions generate a response in the mind that happen instinctively. Emotions set humans apart from animals. Because of emotions, humans are capable of feelings which are absent from animals. Using emotion as an approach to counseling is not new.
There have been therapists who use the approach to treat patients. Famous psychologist Leslie Greenberg tells therapists to use emotion-focused therapy. According to Greenberg’s Emotion-focused therapy handbook (2002), instead of controlling or avoiding emotions, clients can actually understand from their own bodily reactions and begin to act sensibly on them. The book offers clinical wisdom, practical guidance and helpful case illustration.
In an emotion-focused approach, emotion is perceived as an important foundation in the development of oneself. Greenberg (2002) asserts that emotion coaching in therapy is essentially based on two phases: Arriving and Leaving. A major idea of this approach is that one cannot leave a place without first arriving at it. The book discusses the three major practical philosophies in emotion such as Emotion Awareness, Emotion Regulation and Emotion Transformation that direct emotion coaching.
Greenberg (2002) talks about the many areas of emotions in this functional handbook including, Emotions and Emotional Intelligence; Distinguishing Among Varieties of Emotional Expression; The Therapist as an Emotion Coach; The Steps of Emotion Coaching; Arriving at a Primary Emotion; Coaching to Evaluate Whether an Emotion Is Healthy; Identifying Maladaptive Emotions; The Transforming Power of Affect; Lessons About Anger and Sadness From Psychotherapy; Transforming Fear and Shame in Psychotherapy; Coaching for Emotional Wisdom in Couples; and Emotions in Parenting. Emotion-focused therapy
Emotion-Focused Therapy: Coaching Clients to Work Through Their Feelings (2002) is a book that may have been written for therapists working with emotions in treatment to organize their knowledge of how emotional change works. To begin with, the book is written well. Greenberg focuses on scholarly research to build the groundwork for emotion-focused treatment and he demonstrates the essential principals of EFT by outlining logically on both professional and personal experience. This is a good point which therapists can really adopt and relate to. Greenberg’s book (2002) may be interpreted in two ways.
First by concentrating on the consequences of EFT in psychotherapy whether it can be applied successfully. Second, we can interpret it by focusing on the various methods and exercises that were wonderfully illustrated in the book. Theoretically, EFT or Emotion-Focused Therapy presents a framework in which cognitions, interpersonal relationships and emotions can be incorporated and recognized. Greenberg (2002) mentioned that both Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) look at emotions and emotionality in treatment in distinctive ways and from different theoretical models.
EFT offers an important framework in which CBT and IPT can be differentiated. Oftentimes, IPT is typified as a loss-based model, which for Greenberg (2002) is a primary emotion. On the other hand, CBT can be considered as accentuating secondary emotions, such as the worry associated with the pursuit of unrealistic, high expectations of success. Looking the book from another perspective, it provides clinicians and individuals different helpful exercises and interventions that answer both the basic and advanced key elements of EFT.
The elements of EFT are described as getting to know your emotions, experiencing adaptive emotions, anger that obscures another feeling (Greenberg 2002). Ideally, the book contains four parts. The first part studies the nature and function of emotions. This section deals with questions pertaining to the foundation for stating that there are good ways for dealing with human emotionality, distinguishes the three types of emotion while communicating the rationale for emotion coaching, and summarizing the practical steps in emotionally coaching clients through difficult emotions.
Greenberg (2002) works on information from the most recent psychotherapy change research to substantiate key principles of EFT. The second part of the book looks at the first part of emotional coaching which is arriving at emotion. What is most promising is that here, Greenberg notes the techniques and elements that assist clients to recognize their emotions and the manner in which therapists facilitate this process. It is Greenberg’s idea that the therapist is an “emotional coach. ” He stresses that the objective of the coach is to encourage more adaptive ways of emotional processing.
The idea of coaching shows his theory of change as it does a therapeutic style. By letting clients to express denied emotions, Greenberg (2002) believes that positive behavioral change can happen. However, coaching entails empathy, which suggests understanding and endorses the discovery of new meaning. Meanwhile, the third part of Greenberg’s book explores the other part of emotional coaching as mentioned above which is the leaving emotion. Here, Greenberg accounts how therapists can help clients discover whether an emotion is adaptive or maladaptive.
The clients can also facilitate the identification of beliefs that block the process of change. For him (Greenberg 2002), change is made possible if adaptive and beneficial emotions can be admitted and integrated into daily life. As an example, the sadness evolving from the loss of a loved one can be devastating. On the other hand, sadness coming from loss also shows the capacity that each individual has to care for and be close to others. This ability is the basis for more adaptive emotions which can promote emotional and functional change.
Greenberg (2002) said that the key principal of emotional therapy is to “leverage adaptive emotion to facilitate change. ” Lastly, the final part of the book looks at the application of emotion-focused therapy to the problems of living, in the context of individuals, couples therapy, and parenting. Conclusion: Personally, I look at the book as a helpful material in treating clients. It pointed out the many aspects of emotions that may be viewed to help therapists in dealing with clients’ emotions. Basically, every human being is predominantly emotional. Everything that people do is largely initiated by their deeper emotions.
Emotion, which is regarded as responses to certain sorts of events of concern to a subject, generates bodily changes and normally motivating characteristic behavior. We can look at the book in many ways. I look at it as an essential tool for therapists. We can view emotion in many ways. But I believe that the emotional make-up of a person is as significant as his physical well-being. The book has also discussed Emotional Intelligence which refers to the capacity to recognize personal feelings and the feelings of others, for motivating oneself, and for managing emotions well in oneself and relationships.
It is also interesting to come to terms with the question of why is it important to study emotion as an approach in therapy. It must be noted that emotions are characteristically conscious phenomena. However, they often require more persistent bodily expressions than other conscious states. Among the other distinguishing characteristics of emotions is that they differ along a number of dimensions such us in intensity, type and range of intentional objects, among others. Emotions are apparently considered to be antagonists of rationality but also play a crucial role in influencing the quality of life.
The other reason that may be looked into why emotion is such a good measure in treating clients is that they contribute importantly to defining our ends and priorities. EFT is an effective tool in that this approach may indeed help clients to work through any resentment they may face as they deal with their feelings, because in the end, the fear of feelings inspires most of the work psychotherapists. If people begin to experience fear of their feelings, especially strongly negative feelings, this approach will help them in avoiding these.
These maladaptive emotional blocks sometimes lie at the core of clients’ presenting problems, so that simply eliciting feelings is often the most direct path toward resolving any therapeutic issues. If a person is emotionally healthy, he begins to have a better understanding of the many things that he encounters everyday. He begins to have a good understanding of the pressures and the other aspects of his life in such a way that he becomes stronger and healthier on the inside.
I believe that having a good emotional foundation will enable human beings to cope with life a little better. As a final note, Emotion-Focused Therapy: Coaching Clients to Work Through Their Feelings (2002) presents a variety of therapeutic techniques and theoretical principles about the process of change. In this regard, it can be a critical and an essential tool in CBT and IPT works.
Greenberg, L. (2002). Emotion-focused Therapy: Coaching Clients to Work Through Their Feelings. American Psychological Association (APA).