Emotion in Psychotherapy

Leslie S. Greenberg and Jeremy D. Safran

February 16, 1990
ISBN 9780898625226
Price: $44.00
338 Pages
Size: 6⅛" x 9¼"
Copyright Date: 1987

The study of psychotherapy has often been limited to the ways in which cognitive and behavioral processes promote personal change. Introducing a ground breaking perspective, Greenberg and Safran's compelling new work argues that the presently-felt experience of emotional material in therapy forms a vital underpinning in the generation of change. By including emotion as a psychotherapeutic catalyst, the book offers a more complete and encompassing approach to the process of psychotherapy than has ever before been available.

EMOTION IN PSYCHOTHERAPY draws from the literature of both clinical and experimental psychology to provide a critical review of theory and research on the role of emotion in the process of change. Providing a general theoretical framework for understanding the impact of affect in therapy, this unique volume describes specific change events in which emotions enhance the achievement of therapeutic goals. Case examples and extensive transcripts vividly portray a variety of affective modes—such as completing emotional expression, accessing previously unacknowledged feelings, and restructuring emotions—and illustrate in clear, practical terms how certain processes apply to particular patient problems. Moving beyond the standard approaches to therapy, this volume offers an integrated approach that carefully considers the client's state in the session that must be amenable to intervention as well as any given intervention and its resulting changes.

Its attention to both the theoretical and practical considerations of implementing a balanced psychotherapeutic approach—combining behavioral, cognitive, and affective modes—makes this an invaluable volume for practitioners and researchers of all orientations. The book will be of particular interest to clinicians seeking integrative approaches to psychotherapy, and to academic psychologists concerned with expanding the paradigm of cognitive psychology.

“A classic resource for both clinicians and researchers. ”

Child and Family Behavior Therapy

“Emotion and Psychotherapy is profound and stimulating....Safran and Greenberg have put together one of the few books that, as a whole, is truly exciting. [and] consistently intriguing.”

Contemporary Psychology

“A truly outstanding work....Without ignoring developments in behavioral and cognitive science, these Editors attempt to integrate data from emotion theory into the psychotherapeutic process in a way that inevitably portends the future of psychotherapy. Every researcher and practitioner involved with psychotherapy should read this book.”

—David H. Barlow, Ph.D.

“As Safran and Greenberg point out, the time is ripe for psychotherapy theorists and researchers from different theoretical traditions to begin dealing with the topics of emotion and affective change in a systematic fashion and to begin a dialogue with each other. In this very valuable book, they have accomplished these goals admirably. Each chapter, written by a leading figure in the field of psychotherapy research and theory, is of great interest in its own right. And the final integrative chapter...is itself worth the price of the book. Anyone interested in the role of emotion in therapeutic change—and I assume that would include just about everyone interested in psychotherapy—will find the book of great value.”

—Morris Eagle, Ph.D.

“Safran and Greenberg offer us a valuable service by bringing together examples of how emotionality emerges in various forms of psychotherapy. They then seek to point up linkages to current theories of differential emotions. Of special value are contributions...[that] suggest ways in which therapists from various orientations can integrate their practice with current scientific evidence.”

—Jerome L. Singer, Ph.D.

“Psychotherapists have long followed the red thread of emotionality, but a general and integrated theory of cognition, emotion, and psychodynamics has not been available. This compendium of views of how to explain clinical emotionality moves toward the goal of such integration by specifying observable phenomena and pegging the theories of contributors to such instances. The book is part of a revitalization movement in clinical theory.”

—Mardi Horowitz, M.D.

About the Authors

Leslie S. Greenberg, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Psychotherapy Research Center at York University in Canada. Coauthor of Facilitating Emotional Change; Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples; and Emotion in Psychotherapy, he has coedited numerous volumes including Emotion, Psychotherapy, and Change; Empathy Reconsidered; and The Working Alliance. Past President of the International Society for Psychotherapy Research, Dr. Greenberg maintains a private practice in Toronto.


Clinicians seeking integrative approaches to psychotherapy, and psychologists.