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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses ethical principles underlying Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT). It shows that the six intervention principles of EFT—empathic attunement, therapeutic bond, task collaboration, differential emotional processing, emotional deepening through work on therapeutic tasks, and self-development—are grounded in the more basic ethical requirements of psychotherapy and counseling, in particular beneficence and non-maleficence. There is an overall tension in EFT between providing a productive therapeutic relationship and task facilitation. As examples, this chapter discusses three specific key ethical dilemmas of EFT: (a) necessary emotion arousal versus risks on the path to core pain, (b) transient emotional dysregulation versus protection of the self, and (c) freedom to choose versus process-guiding or control. It illustrates with clinical examples, and discusses research implications.

Keywords: ethics, emotion-focused therapy, dilemma, principles, emotion, therapeutic tasks

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