Keynote Speech

Theory of Practice: Changing Emotion with Emotion by Leslie S. Greenberg, PhD

An overview of the theory of practice will be presented. This will include a discussion of the role of emotion and emotional awareness in function and dysfunction. The importance of working with amygdale-based emotion will be emphasized. The use of process-diagnosis to identify opportunities for intervention and different types of emotion will be discussed. Six major principles of emotional change in psychotherapy: Emotion Awareness, Expression, Regulation, Reflection, Transformation, and Corrective Experience will be discussed with an emphasis on how to change emotion.

Case formulation and marker guided intervention will be described. The goal of case formulation is to help expediently create a focus for the therapy that actively engages clients in their own healing. A focus on the core, underlying emotion schemes that drives the presenting problems aids both the therapist and client to be able to work productively and help clients meet the goals that brought them to therapy.

Videotaped examples of evidence based, methods for evoking and dealing with emotions will be presented as well as the micro-skills of moment by moment empathic attunement to affect.

EFT for Social Anxiety: Theory, Research & Practice by Robert Elliott, PhD

Social Anxiety is common in clinical populations and is a clinically and theoretically important recent focus for Emotion-Focused Therapy. First, I summarize EFT theoretical views on social anxiety, including primary maladaptive shame and fear, behavioral and emotional avoidance/self-interruption, anxiety and self-criticism splits, emotion-regulation difficulties, and unfinished business stemming from early experiences of rejection, neglect, abuse or bullying by significant others. Second, I report the results of a meta-analysis of 19 outcome studies of humanistic-experiential therapies for range of anxiety difficulties, showing large amounts of pre-post change but disappointing poor results when compared to CBT. I then summarize highly promising results from a recent study comparing EFT to person-centred therapy for social anxiety, which points to the possibility of developing more effective humanistic approaches for social anxiety. Finally, using the results of this study, I describe a general therapeutic approach for working with this client group, including: (a) strong, genuinely accepting and empathic relationship; (b) exploratory work for accessing, deepening, and symbolizing emotional experiences related to social anxiety; (c) narrative work for developing a coherent account of the social anxiety in the person's life; and (d) within-session enactments (chair work) of internal self-critical and social anxiety processes, plus unresolved painful relationships connected with social anxiety, and (e) within-session enactments of self-soothing processes (self-compassion).

Empathy, Empathic Attunement and Alliance by Alberta E. Pos, PhD

Long considered a robust predictor of outcome across a number of therapy approaches, the therapy alliance is defined trans-theoretically as being composed of feelings of bonded connection to the therapist as well as collaboration in the form of agreement on tasks and goals of therapy. While tasks and goals of therapy may differ across different therapy models, from an EFT perspective the therapist's primary and constant directive is to maintain empathic attunement with the client. This attunement has the potential to provide the client both with a new interpersonal experience, as well the safe environment within which clients can turn inward and engage in the core change process of emotional processing. This talk will present core theoretical, developmental, neurobiological and process research findings concerning the essential role that empathy plays in the therapy process. Current process measures of, and research concerning, empathy as a common factor of therapy will also be discussed. Evidence validating the importance of empathy in first sessions of EFT will also be examined. Practical considerations and guidelines for the provision of effective empathic attunement that will lead to optimal emotional activation and transformation of emotion schemes throughout the therapy path will be offered. Both fundamental empathic skills as well as pragmatic considerations for the provision of empathy to more difficult client populations will also be discussed.

EFT for Complex Post-traumatic Stress (EFTT) by Sandra C. Paivio, PhD

Complex PTSD stemming from childhood abuse results in a constellation of disturbances and disrupted affective processes is at the core of this constellation. These include chronic feelings of fear, shame, and worthlessness, unresolved sadness and anger at perpetrators (attachment figures), and difficulties regulating these emotions (under-regulation and avoidance/over-control). EFTT (Paivio & Pascual-Leone, 2010) is a short-term evidence-based approach that posits emotional processing of trauma feelings and memories as a mechanism of change. EFTT uniquely emphasizes accessing previously inhibited adaptive emotion (anger at violation, sadness at loss) and associated meaning to help transform maladaptive fear and shame. EFTT is based on an empirically-verified model that specifies steps in the process of resolving attachment injuries (Greenberg & Foerster, 1997). Primary re-experiencing procedures in EFTT are imaginal confrontation (IC) of perpetrators in an empty chair or empathic exploration (EE) of trauma material in interaction with the therapist. Both of these procedures involve exposure and interpersonal processes. EFTT consists of four phases - cultivating the alliance, reducing fear and shame, resolving attachment injuries through anger and sadness, and termination.

Emotion-Focused Therapy for Couples by Rhonda N. Goldman, PhD

The theory of EFT-C (Greenberg & Goldman, 2008) posits three dynamic systems that form the basis of couple relationships. They include the core fundamental processes that lay at the heart of couples conflicts: fears of loss of security and attachment, struggles for the validation of identity, and the attraction and liking system which is seen as both bringing couples together and sustaining relationships. The EFT-C model is a 5-stage, 14-step model that intricately describes how to help couples work through core conflicts and change entrenched maladaptive cycles that drive the problems couples bring to therapy. EFT-C helps couples develop new, healthier cycles that promote bonding and closeness. Emotion-Focused Therapy can be particularly helpful for couples working through emotional injuries resulting from betrayal, or violations sustained in the course of the relationship (i.e., extra-marital affairs) (Greenberg, Malcolm & Warwar, 2008: Woldarsky-Meneses & Greenberg, 2010). More recently, EFT-C has also been developed to help individual partners within couples develop the capacity for self-soothing (Goldman & Greenberg, 2012; Goldman & Greenberg, 2010) which is seen as particularly helpful for sustaining long-term, healthy relationships.