Dr. Leslie Greenburg recently visited Shanghai and conducted a series of trainings on Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT). Dr. Greenburg co-founded the therapeutic approach of EFT, which is an evidence-based psychological treatment. Dr. Greenberg is presently a professor in the department of psychology at York University, where he is also director of the university’s Psychotherapy Research Center.
Three LIH Olivia’s Place Shanghai Psychology Team members – Dr. Sophie Westwood, Dr. Beth Rutkowski, and Ms. Veronica McKibben – attended his one-day workshop on Working with Shame with EFT. Ms. McKibben attended a further two weeks of training in order to develop in depth understanding and skills within the practice of Emotion-Focused Therapy.
The therapeutic techniques of EFT are based on the belief that emotions direct in the way people interact with the world. They guide our actions. They inform us of the things that we want. They help people grow and develop attachments.
The therapy focuses on regulating emotions in order to facilitate a change in behavior. Within a therapy session, an individual is assisted through the process of gaining awareness of their emotions. The therapeutic setting also allows people to experience emotions in a place that is safe and that may be challenging or even frightening to explore without support.
With training, therapists are able to help individuals identify primary and secondary emotions. An example of secondary emotion is when a person expresses anger, though she is actually masking sadness. People are then able to learn to understand, manage, and transform maladaptive emotions. This allows them the opportunity to access and utilize healthy, adaptive emotions, such as grieving the loss of a loved one or developing compassion towards a person who hurt them.
The psychological community of Shanghai was very fortunate to have the opportunity to learn these techniques from Dr. Leslie Greenburg. They will assist the LIH Olivia’s Place psychology team in their work with adolescents, families, and adults.