Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

Living Edition
| Editors: Jay Lebow, Anthony Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Softening in Emotion-Focused Therapy

  • Shannon IversonEmail author
  • Rhonda Goldman
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_200-1



Emotion-focused therapy for couples (EFT-C) is a blend of systemic and experiential therapies created to enhance couple interaction by decreasing negative, escalating conflict and increasing intimacy and vulnerable emotional expression between partners (Greenberg and Goldman 2008). Leslie Greenberg’s intense study and training in systems work and power dynamics within relationships, families, and couples, combined with his emphasis on experiential work to facilitate emotional expression led him to pioneer the development of EFT-C, an integrative therapy that blends systemic and experiential techniques with a strong emphasis on therapeutic working alliance. First developed in 1988, Leslie Greenberg and Rhonda Goldman expanded the original model to include five stages: (1) validation and alliance formation, (2) negative cycle de-escalation, (3) accessing underlying vulnerable feelings, (4) restructuring the negative interaction and the self, and...

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  1. Bradley, B., & Furrow, J. L. (2004). Toward a mini-theory of the blamer softening event: Tracking the moment-by-moment process. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 30(2), 233–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Elliot, R., Watson, J., Goldman, R. N., & Greenberg, L. S. (2004). Learning emotion-focused therapy: The process-experiential approach to change. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Illinois School of Professional Psychology- Argosy UniversitySchaumburgUSA
  2. 2.Family institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA