chapter  Two
34 Pages

Families and Emotion—Sharing the Language of Attachment

WithJames L. Furrow, Gail Palmer, Susan M. Johnson, George Faller, Lisa Palmer-Olsen

In this chapter, the authors explore the relationship of John Bowlby attachment theory and core principles from family systems theory focusing on their relationship to the practice of emotionally focused family therapy (EFFT). They examine Bowlby’s own ideas about family treatment and developments in attachment-oriented family therapy and their related contributions to EFFT. The authors deal with a brief review of the role of emotion in EFFT practice as they work to restore resilience through strengthening the affectional bonds of families. EFFT and attachment-focused family therapy share a similar focus on attachment-related emotion as a resource for promoting change in increasing felt security in families. EFFT’s experiential focus uses the accessing and sharing of attachment-related emotions to promote more secure interaction and this occurs through active engagement of those emotions and relationships in the moment. In EFFT the therapist understands the motivations of parents and children based on the intrinsic motivations of care-seeking and caregiving.