Emotion Research: Clinical Psychology


Psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapies are grouped here because of their shared emphasis of the criticality of early life experiences in determining the nature internal representations, personality, and behavior. These approaches to psychotherapy also share an emphasis on the importance of conscious awareness of conflicts and understanding of their origins (insight) as the primary means of inducing lasting personality change. This insight can be accomplished cognitively but is most effective when coupled with active, heightened affect, which may occur when the client is actively, affectively engaged with the psychotherapist (transference). However, no coherent theory of emotion exists for psychodynamic approaches as a whole, and theories of emotion for selected theoretical perspectives are therefore discussed separately below. The subdisciplines of psychodynamic theories differ in their conceptualization of the causes of psychopathology and emotional disorders, as will be seen below. In reading these theories, it is important to remember that they were conceptualized largely before the advent of modern cognitive psychology and cognitive science. Their language tends to be more vague than more recent descriptions, but one can see many points of agreement with recent information processing points of view. This is true especially for Jung's view of thinking and feeling, which is consistent with recent experiential psychotherapy theories as well as with the information processing view of emotion exemplified by LeDoux's work (LeDoux theory of affect, LeDoux circuit).

Editor: Eva Hudlicka [psychometrixassociates.com]

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