Sequential model of emotional processing; how clients change emotion with emotion

ARTICLEAntonio Pascual Leone, Juliette Becking, Kurt Renders & Ueli Kramer - 55–2 (2017)


'Changing emotion with emotion' has always been one of the essential strong beliefs in emotion-focused therapy (EFT). In 2007 Pascual-Leone and Greenberg described sequences in emotional processing and how they lead to emotional change in an early version of the sequential model of emotional processing. Clients go through different types of emotions in order to get to therapeutic resolution: from global distress, via secondary reactive emotions, to primary maladaptive and finally primary adaptive emotions to meet the needs that are contained within.
Several years of process research later, we believe EFT is now in a position to be more specific in its theory and describe the discrete emotions that most commonly are observed to represent these broader emotion categories. The sequential model of emotional processing can serve as a suitable map of productive client process in therapy. This change process of human emotion seems to be fundamental and seems to be a universal model, regardless of the therapeutic orientation.


Emotion Focused Therapy, EFT, changing emotion with emotion, roadmap, productive therapy process, universal model