Emotion-Focused theory proposes that

  • emotions are essential to our decision-making.
  • emotions tell us what is important, what we need to do and who we are as individuals.
  • emotions are feelings, each feeling is attached to a need, and each need has a direction for action.

Central to this theory is that emotions are experienced as a process, rather than a thing. This process is known as an emotion scheme:

Emotion Scheme2

Source: Elliott, R., Watson, J. C., Goldman, R. N., & Greenberg, L. S. (2010). Learning Emotion-Focused Therapy. Washington, DC, USA: American Psychological Association, 26-27