Why we need the Emotion Revolution
Human beings relate to themselves and to the world in individual and diverse ways. This diversity is reflected in the field of psychotherapy. Therapeutic approaches range from focusing on rational thinking to non-conceptual experiencing; from contemplating practices to exposure through behavioral experiments; from primal expression of impulses to a focus on downregulating emotions. Different approaches to change will serve different needs for different people at different times. We see the diversity in our field as both necessary and fruitful.
At the same time, there are models and approaches within our field that claim superiority. One example, which also represents our current zeitgeist, is the metaphor of the human mind as a computer or an information processing unit. Even though this metaphor can serve us well in explaining important aspects of human functioning, we believe it can also provide us with a skewed view on what it means to be human. Firstly, this metaphor does not put human experience at center. Secondly, emotions and emotional pain can be perceived as irrational mistakes in programming. Even though emotions are being put more to the fore in the field of psychotherapy, they are often treated as secondary to other mental processes. Thirdly, this metaphor does not sufficiently highlight fundamental human motivational aspects, such as seeking connection, experiencing love and confirming our identity.
We believe the Emotion Revolution is needed for several reasons. It is needed to unite voices that are talking about emotions and the experiencing of emotions as the key point of interest to the field of psychotherapy. It is needed to improve our understanding of emotions and how they change. It is needed in order to influence the current zeitgeist by communicating knowledge to the world about the importance of experiencing and processing emotions. And it is needed in order to make the world a more emotion friendly place. Our belief is that this will lead to better communication, more tolerance for diversity, and ultimately aid the human race in helping our entire planet prosper.
Dr. Leslie Greenberg is one of the originators and primary developers of Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) for individuals and couples. You can watch a short interview with him here:
Dr. Allan Abbass is the founding Director of the Centre for Emotions and Health at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. Dr. Abbass’s clinical specialty and research focus is the use of Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP), particularly on how unprocessed emotion plays a part in medically unexplained physical symptoms. You can watch an interview with him here:
Dr. Diana Fosha is the developer of Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP), a healing-based, transformation-oriented model of psychotherapeutic treatment. You can watch an interview with her here:
Dr. Paul Gilbert is the founder of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), an approach that focuses on building an emotionally healthier relationship with oneself. You can watch an interview with him here:
Dr. Janina Fisher is a faculty member of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute. She is well known for her expertise as both a therapist and speaker on the topic of trauma and the body in psychotherapy.
You can watch a short interview with her here:
Dr. Steven Hayes is renown for his work on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a third-wave cognitive-behavior therapy which focuses on relating to and accepting ones emotions. You can watch his TED-talk here:
“For many years you have talked about me. Behind my back. Over my head. Shouting at me. At times you haven’t even acknowledged my existence, and never have you truly listened to me. I want this to change. I need you to be with me. Sit down with me, and take me seriously. Stay with me long enough for me to tell you about my deepest longings and my heartfelt needs. If you do, I will fuel your voice in the world with magic power and create human connections for you. If you won’t, I will likely cause hell. It’s up to you! I am emotion.”