Learning Emotion-Focused Therapy - Supplemental Materials

Chapter 2: Process-Experiential Theory Made Simple

2.4.5. Exercise: Analyzing Self-Aspects



To get a first-hand feeling for different self-aspects and their dialectic relationships to one another, try listening a therapy session which is predominantly exploratory or which involves Two Chair Work.  It could be a session in which you were the therapist, or not.  As you listen, pay particular attention to times when the client is describing or expressing particular emotional states (for example, angry/critical, small/panicky, or puzzled, but also numb or jokey/entertaining).  (These are called “emotion episodes”; Greenberg & Korman, 1993.)  As you hear them on the tape, take notes on these emotional states.  Use emotion words, but also words that describe felt qualities, such as “small,” “light,” or “sinking.”  After you’ve finished listening to the tape, make a list of the main ones, the emotional states that occur repeatedly or for much of the session.  Pay particular attention to ones that seem to be in conflict or somehow related to one another (for example “suspicious” vs. “trusting”).  Try to put into words the felt quality of the relationship between the opposing emotion responses, such as “implacably hostile,”“distrustful,” “tentatively tolerant,” or “cautiously cooperative.”



Materials designed to accompany the book Learning Emotion-Focused Therapy: The Process-Experiential Approach to Change from APA Books.

©2003 Robert Elliott, Jeanne Watson, Rhonda Goldman, and Leslie Greenberg