How 2 Silly Willys and 3 Waves led us to EFT. Evolution of EFT. (part 2)

As mentioned in our last piece, Wilhelm Wundt and William James started some schools of psychology in the late 1800s. But Willy and Willy were both so silly in that they didn’t ascribe catchy names for their respective schools. 

Psychotherapy has grown into a plethora of different forms. Many of these are conveniently turned in 3 letter acronyms like CBT, DBT or ACT. The T, more often than not, stands for therapy. They tend to focus on different aspects of our experience such as our family systems, our somatisation, our expression or our ‘positivity’.

Whilst EFT has the perquisite T in a 3 letter acronym and a seemingly apparent clear focus on a singular aspect of experience, the concept of emotion is much bigger than lots of people think. (And we will look at this a little more in another episode).

Emotion focused therapy as developed by Robert Elliot, Jeanne Watson, Rhonda Goldman and Leslie Greenberg, grew out of existentialist, humanist, client centred approaches. This was considered the 3rd wave of psychotherapy following after psychodynamic/psychoanalytic and then behavioural approaches.   

Eclecticism suggests we take a bit of this and a bit of that together depending on what seems to fit best to the individual situation. To me at least, it has often seemed fanatical or too dogmatic when people are proclaiming that they identify as a psychoanalyst or a behaviourist or whatever the latest fashionable technique is. It seems that they may be using whatever technique they are using for the sake of their commitment to their idealised/idolised method rather than the benefit of their client.

Emotion Focused Therapy in my opinion has been doing a masterful job of combining and refining techniques and approaches from the wide range of schools out there. Borrowing techniques from gestalt therapies such as chair work. Incorporating focusing. Looking in depth at internal processes through the relationship in therapy much like the analysts. Incorporating behavioural techniques and having a keen observational approach like any good behaviourist. Interested in our thoughts and the way we talk to ourselves like CBT. Addressing needs of attachment and identity. All wrapped up in a client centred humanist approach that prioritises the therapeutic relationship and focuses on expressed emotional arousal since this has been empirically correlated to therapeutic outcomes.

We seek growth in therapy. This is when we move beyond symptom management and seek movement towards actualising. So as a committed eclecticist and keen student of growth in general and in psychotherapy, it seems Emotion Focused Therapy has grown from the great waves of psychotherapy, synthesising the best and most effective aspects of these approaches to achieve real change in the lives of people. 

To get more familiar with the ins and outs of Emotion Focused Therapy why not join us in the stand alone Foundations course or the post graduate qualifications in Emotion Focused Therapy.