Theories of Affect Underlying Psychopathology and Psychotherapy
While focusing on emotions and their disorders, psychotherapy in general lacks comprehensive theories of emotion (Safran and Greenberg, 1987). Nevertheless, each distinct approach to psychotherapy has its own, often an implicit, view of emotions. Representative examples of these are outlined below. In some cases there is much overlap between these theories and the theories from experimental psychology; e.g., cognitive appraisal theories are the basis of cognitive-behavioral therapy and the theories underlying more recent developments in experiential therapies are similar to the current cognitive science conceptualization of emotion as resulting, at least in part, from an independent information processing system in the brain. In considering these distinct theories it is important to keep in mind the reality of the psychotherapy process. Few psychotherapists practice in a theoretically or technically pure manner and the enterprise of psychotherapy is both an art and a highly eclectic endeavor, where both theories and techniques are often mixed.
We discuss the following theories