In Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy: The Dynamics of Emotion, Love, and Power, authors Leslie S. Greenberg and Rhonda N. Goldman explore the foundations of emotionally focused therapy for couples. They expand its framework to focus more intently on the development of the self and the relationship system through the promotion of self-soothing and other-soothing; to deal with unmet needs both from the client's adulthood and childhood; and to work more explicitly with emotions, specifically fear, anxiety, shame, power, joy, and love. The authors discuss the affect regulation involved in three major motivational systems central to couples therapy—attachment, identity, and attraction and clarify emotions and motivations in the dominance dimension of couples' interactions.

Written with practitioners and graduate students in mind, the authors use a rich variety of case material to demonstrate how working with emotions can facilitate change in couples and, by extension, in all situations where people may be in emotional conflict with others. Greenberg and Goldman provide the tools needed to identify specific emotions and show the reader how to work with them to resolve conflict and promote bonding in couples therapy.

Table of Contents


  1. Introduction

I. Theory of Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy

  1. Emotion
  2. Affect Regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Interaction
  5. Culture and Gender

II. Couples Therapy: An Emotion-Focused Perspective

  1. Intervention Framework
  2. Therapeutic Tasks: Focusing on Interactional Cycles
  3. Therapeutic Tasks: Focusing on Individual Emotional States

III. Working With Specific Emotions

  1. Anger in Couples Therapy
  2. Sadness in Couples Therapy
  3. Fear in Couples Therapy
  4. Shame in Couples Therapy
  5. Positive Emotion in Couples Therapy


Author Index

Subject Index

About the Authors

Author Bios

Leslie S. Greenberg, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is the Director of the York University Psychotherapy Research Clinic. He is one of the leading authorities on working with emotions in psychotherapy and is an originator of emotion-focused approaches to the treatment of individuals and couples having authored the major original texts on the approach. He trained intensively in both experiential and systemic approaches and integrated these into the development of an emotion-focused approach to couples therapy. Dr. Greenberg also has written extensively on the theory and practice of emotion-focused therapy with individuals. He conducts a private practice for individuals and couples and offers training internationally in emotion-focused approaches to treatment.

Rhonda N. Goldman, PhD, is an associate professor at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University in Chicago and a staff therapist at the Family Institute at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She became interested in process-experiential therapy in graduate school, where she worked with her mentor, Leslie S. Greenberg. Currently, she practices, conducts research, and writes about emotion-focused therapy, including empathy, vulnerability, depression, and case formulation, and is interested in the applicability of emotion-focused therapy for different populations.

Reviews & Awards
  • Independent Publisher Book Award for Psychology/Mental Health (Bronze)

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