Emotional Safety : Viewing Couples Through the Lens of Affect book cover
1st Edition

Emotional Safety
Viewing Couples Through the Lens of Affect

ISBN 9780415954518
Published October 13, 2006 by Routledge
300 Pages

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Book Description

Emotional Safety is designed to help couple therapists identify and conceptualize the problems of their clients and to provide solutions, focusing on the two central elements of emotion and attachment.

Problems occur in relationships when the partners no longer feel safe being open and vulnerable with each other. Emotional Safety: Viewing Couples Through the Lens of Affect enables couple therapists to recognize and articulate the emotional subtext of their clients’ interactions. The emotional safety model is based on modern affect theory and focuses on the affective tone of messages in the areas of attachment and esteem. The model allows therapists to address the subtle interplay of perceived threat and emotional reaction which underlies their clients’ difficulties and disrupts emotional safety.

Table of Contents

Forward. Preface. Acknowledgements. Part I:Theory and Foundation. The Problem.  The Language of Affect.  Realms of Affect: Attachment and Esteem. Realms of Emotion: View of Self and Other. Mapping the Terrain of the Emotional Relationship. Why Partners Matter: The Power of Affective Resonance. Why Esteem Matters: The Power of Shame and Pride. How Emotions Operate: Scripts of Self and Other. Part II: Clinical Applications. The Core Components of Relationship Problems. Patterns of Maladaptive Responses. Identifying the Problem. Establishing Safety. Maintaining Esteem. Repairing Damaged Esteem. Maintaining Attachment Security. Healing Attachment Injuries. The Emotional Safety Model.

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Don R. Catherall is Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern Medical School


"Emotional Safety...is a welcome addition to the growing library of books that use attachment theory as a foundation for understanding and improving the practice of couples therapy.  [It provides] an enhanced understanding of how relationships can come to be experienced by couples as unsafe terrain, and how therapists can work with couples to restore a sense of emotional safety.  This book is unquestionably a useful resource for couples therapists, and indeed any therapist who addresses relationship issues.  [It] can be used in conjunction with a wide variety of approaches to therapy.  Overall, Emotional Safety offers a coherent, provocative new lens for viewing relationship dynamics and should serve to expand any therapist's view of the territory of couple relationships. "  -Kristin Arthur, M.I.L.R, in Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy

"Catherall's writing demonstrates a stellar command of many psychological theories, and he integrates a variety of academic areas of study very well.  Throughout the book, and especially in Part Two, he interweaves great examples and clinical vignettes to demonstrate complex elements of his theory.  Catherall's focus on enhancing emotional safety is convincing and consistent with recent research; it will also resonate with many therapists' clinical experience with couples...Catherall's text accomplishes its important goal of providing a lens with which to conceptualize couples functioning, one that can serve as a guide for therapists in working with a wide range of families."  -Michelle D. Sherman in PsycCRITIQUES, Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books