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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 170-178

Emotions and psychotherapy: tracing the prevailing trends


1 M Phil in Clinical Psychology Trainee, Department of Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India
2 Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, Department of Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India

Correspondence Address:
M Manjula
Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore-560 029, Karnataka State
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Background: Emotions are generic and central to most of the theories and therapies in psychology as well as an important criterion in the psychopathology of various psychiatric disorders. Though the terminology and techniques are varied, every school of therapy attempts to address emotions. Recently there is an increased focus on addressing emotions in psychotherapy. Objective: This paper aims to trace the significance given to emotions in psychological theories and therapies as well as to understand and evaluate the current status of therapeutic interventions addressing emotions. Discussion: There is obvious increase in the importance given to addressing and assessing of emotions. Emotions have become the focus of therapy and an important outcome variable in many recent therapies. However, there is still a lack of systematic assessment methods, measures as well as specific therapeutic components to address emotions. There is also lack of clarity in the terminologies used to refer to ‘emotions’. Finally, the processes and therapeutic factors leading to better emotional regulation are in their nascence and needs systematic exploration. Conclusion: Certain processes such as experiencing deep affect in therapy, depth of processing, reflection on emotions, understanding roots of emotions and using positive emotions to deal with negative emotions are seen to result in positive change. However, there is need for uniform use of terminologies, quantitative and qualitative assessment and methodologies and theoretically grounded therapeutic components to address ‘emotions’ in psychotherapy.


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