chapter  15
12 Pages


In individual psychotherapy, there are approaches to treatment devoted solely to affect or emotion. Gestalt Therapy, for example, has been a major force in psychotherapy and deals exclusively with emotional awareness and expression. However, marital therapies have devoted little attention to the role of feelings in therapy. In fact, in some major approaches such as paradoxical, strategic, and behavioral, feelings are viewed as a hindrance to effective therapeutic work. Proponents of these approaches often speak of the need to avoid dealing with feelings because they are seen as a distraction . Greenberg and Safran (1987) identify three specific reasons for addressing emotion in psychotherapy: Processing information in an experiential manner produces productive client involvement in some forms of therapy; emotional arousal and expression are related to change in specific circumstances; and anxiety can be reduced by maintaining a high level of emotional arousal in specific circumstances. Of all the major approaches to systems/marital therapy, not one gives serious attention to the role of feelings (Gurman & Kniskern, 1981 b), despite the fact that marriage is fundamentally an emotional attachment.