Secondary Reactive Emotions in Emotion-Focused Therapy
Name of Concept
Secondary reactive emotions
Secondary reactive emotions are “reactions to reactions” and perpetuate the negative interactional cycles couples may develop (Greenberg and Goldman 2008). Therefore, it is important to recognize and work with these emotions in emotion-focused therapy for couples (EFT-C). The EFT-C therapist strives to help the couple become aware of the secondary reactive emotions that trigger their negative relational patterns. Secondary emotions are unconscious attempts to avoid experiencing the more vulnerable feelings activated by a comment or situation. Couple conflict is resolved as the EFT-C therapist creates a safe environment to help the couple reveal and constructively respond to each other’s underlying vulnerable feelings.
Theoretical Context for Concept
In the context of a couple, secondary emotions arise when more primary attachment or identity-related emotions cannot be tolerated (Greenberg and Goldman 2008...
- Greenberg, L. S., & Paivio, S. C. (1997). Working with emotions in psychotherapy. New York: The Guildford Press.Google Scholar