chapter  1
Helping Clients Thrive with Positive Emotions 1
Expanding People’s Repertoire of Problem Counter-States
WithMarie-Nathalie Beaudoin
Pages 12

This chapter provides an overview of the literature on positive affect and its value in therapeutic conversations. A large number of clients come to therapy because they are distressed and feel unable to contain the intensity of their affective experience. Therapists are encouraged to move beyond assisting clients with problems and facilitate a process by which people will flourish and thrive. Therapy is usually terminated when clients have found a certain level of peace with their problems, changed their behaviors or context of life, or revisited their views of themselves, their relationships, or the situation. More specifically, affect typically experienced as “negative” tends to activate specific limbic areas of the brain involved in the fight, flight, freeze, faint system. Since the discovery that intense emotions can “override” the brain’s cognitive processes, scientists have become increasingly interested in examining the neurological activation patterns associated with people’s affective experiences.