The Role of Positive Emotion in the Therapeutic Process of Family Therapy

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Abstract

Historically, the role of positive emotions has been somewhat obscured in family therapy by focus on relational processes, behavioral sequences, and interactional patterns. Despite increasing interest in the role of positive emotions in the field of psychology, little attention has been given to these issues in family therapy. As a result, the specific role of positive emotions is neither theoretically nor clinically well understood. The authors analyze the role of positive emotions in Functional Family Therapy, a model in which positive emotions serve as a key element in the proximal and distal outcomes of the phase-based systematic change process. The authors suggest that the important question is not if but how positive emotions are important. It is apparent that positive emotions play a vital role in family therapy. However, the authors are only beginning to uncover the abundant complexities tied to the therapeutic role of positive emotions within the relational patterns of families.

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