Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) – characterized by near-constant worry that often coincides with intense feelings of shame and despair – is a highly treatment-resistant disorder, with clients often relapsing after making some progress. Master therapists Jeanne Watson and Leslie Greenberg argue, however, that emotion-focused therapy (EFT) is uniquely capable of targeting the maladaptive emotional schemes that underlie GAD and helping clients maintain lasting, positive change.
In this practical guide, Watson and Greenberg teach mental health practitioners how to employ EFT methods in their work with GAD clients. The authors first review EFT's conceptualization of GAD, emphasizing the key role that emotion plays in pervasive anxiety. They then translate those foundational principles into detailed techniques and strategies as they walk readers through the EFT process, beginning with the establishment of a healing therapeutic relationship.
Chapters review different stages of EFT, describing specific therapeutic exercises, such as empty-chair and two-chair tasks, that allow clients to vocalize and directly address their deep-rooted emotional pain, anxieties, and relational injuries with significant others. Through this work, clients eventually learn to self-soothe and transform their maladaptive coping mechanisms into healthier ones.
Sample client–therapist dialogues demonstrate how these EFT techniques can be applied in actual practice.
Jeanne C. Watson, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. As a major exponent of humanistic–experiential psychotherapy, she has contributed to the development of emotion-focused therapy, the process experiential approach.
In 2001, she received the Outstanding Early Achievement Award from the International Society for Psychotherapy Research and served as president of the International Society for Psychotherapy Research from 2014 through 2015.
Dr. Watson has coauthored or coedited seven books on psychotherapy and counseling, including Learning Emotion-Focused Therapy: The Process Experiential Approach to Change (2003); Expressing Emotion: Myths, Realities, and Therapeutic Strategies (1999); Client-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy in the 21st Century: Advances in Theory, Research and Practice (2002); Handbook of Experiential Psychotherapy (1998); Process-Experiential Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Depression (2005); and most recently, Case Studies in Emotion Focused Treatment of Depression (2007), as well as more than 70 articles and chapters.
She conducts trainings in emotion-focused therapy in Europe and North America and maintains a part-time private practice in Toronto.
Leslie S. Greenberg, PhD, is a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Psychology at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
He has authored the major texts on emotion-focused approaches to treatment of individuals and couples. These include the original texts Emotion in Psychotherapy (1986), Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (1988), Facilitating Emotional Change (1993), and Emotion Focused Therapy: Coaching Clients to Work Through Their Feelings (Second Edition, 2015); and more recently, Emotion-Focused Therapy of Depression (2006), Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy: The Dynamics of Emotion, Love, and Power (2008) with Jeanne Watson, and Case Formulation in Emotion-Focused Therapy (2015) with Rhonda Goldman, as well as Emotion-Focused Therapy: Theory and Practice (2010). He has published extensively on research on the process of change.
Dr. Greenberg has received the Distinguished Research Career Award of the International Society for Psychotherapy Research, as well as the Carl Rogers Award and the APA Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Research. He also has received the Canadian Psychological Association Professional Award for Distinguished Contribution to Psychology as a Profession.
He conducts a private practice for individuals and couples and trains people internationally in emotion-focused approaches.