Emotion Focussed Therapy
Emotions like anger, sadness, and fear are adaptive and can help us to negotiate a complex world. Emotions are essentially data processing shortcuts. For example, if you come across a tiger in the jungle, fear can help you to run away quickly. Emotions can also have a communicative value. For example, sadness can help you to elicit care from others, and anger can show people that you need a bit of space. Emotion focussed therapies (EFT) help us to normalise and tune into our emotions and use them – the therapy teaches us that emotions are there to help us and that they might be a sign that we need to change something in our lives. However, EFT also teaches us that we can think our way into emotions in an unhelpful way, and that emotions might be a sign that we need to challenge our thinking. Crucially, EFT asks the following question: Is your emotional response appropriate and proportional, or is it severe, frequent, and/or long lasting? For example, if you are really sad most of the day for more than two weeks, you may be experiencing an episode of depression. However, feeling down and the clinical disorder depression are different things, and similarly, being apprehensive about something is not the same as an anxiety disorder.