SusanJohnson and Leslie Greenberg’s Emotion-focused Therapy applied toDaniel and Miranda from Mrs.Doubtfire
Theemotional problems remain one of the challenging psychological issuesthat the contemporary society is grappling with. Indeed, theemotional problem is linked to various serious psychological issues,including sadness, difficulties in sustaining social relationships,depression, anxiety, fear, self-inflicted harm, suicide, and divorce,among others. The statistics on emotion-related problems aredocumented and show it is adverse. For instance, according to MentalHealth Foundation (2016),about 72 percent of children in care suffer from either emotional oremotional problems. About 95 percent of the young inmates suffer fromdifferent emotional problems and continue to struggle with thedisorders (MentalHealth Foundation, 2016).In light of these problems, different suggestions for dealing withthe issuehave been put forth, but the question remains what might bethe most appropriate approach of dealing with the issue.Emotion-focusedTherapy is one of the notable methods that have been suggested. Thistype of therapy is short-term, typically lasting less than 20seconds, and it is structured psychotherapy that integrates theelements of Gestalt,constructivist,person-centered and systemic therapy, and the attachment theory(Palmer&Efron, 2013).Thispaper explores the significance of Emotion-focused Therapy inaddressing the mental problems, focusing on the case of charactersDaniel and Miranda as featured in Mrs.Doubtfire, a1993 comedy drama film.
Mrs.Doubtfirepresentsa case of the effect of emotional-related complications. DanielHillard, the main character, a voice actor is a loving father ofthree children, Natalie, Lydia and Chris, and Miranda is his wife.Despite being a loving father, Daniel happens to be an unreliablehusband. His unreliable character is seen when he quits his jobbecause of a minor disagreement over a script. He goes ahead toorganize a ‘rocking’ party for his Chris (his son) a birthdayparty, much to Miranda’s objections. Miranda returns home from workto neighbors complaints about the party, she becomes Angry andconfronts Daniel for organizing a party behind her back. They bothengage in an argument culminating to her filing for a divorce. Duringtheir first hearing of child custody, the judge grants Miranda thecustody rights, considering Daniel does not have a job or aresidence. However, Daniel is given three months to seek a job andlook for a house before they can be both granted a joint custody.
Thecultural and social contributors to this couple’s issues
Differentfactors come into play to cause and aggravate couple’s issues.However, theproblem begins with Daniel’s unreliable character asthe husband. Notably, he is unable to control is emotions, and thisis partly revealed when hequits his job just because of a minor disagreement over a script. Heextends his unreliable character to holding a party for his sonChris, against Miranda position. To acertain extent, Daniel feelsthat, as a man, he is the head of the house and can always makedecisions without Miranda approval. However, Miranda is particularlydisappointed that Daniel has violated the family ‘protocol’ bygoing behind his back to hold a party. She expects that, since theyare married couple, they needed to consult on issues. She is annoyedwhen she hears the neighbors’ complaints about a loud noise thatcame from the Daniel’s house party, and she neither wants to takethe issue lightly. Consequently, both confront each other and areunable to control their emotions. The confrontation causes Miranda tofile for a divorce. In essence, the conflict can be seen as havingbeen orchestrated by conflicts in cultural views concerning familydecisions, escalating to confrontations in which the couples failedto regulate their emotions.
Therationale for using your Emotional focused therapy and concepts
TheEmotion-focusedTherapy lends itself the most suitable approach for addressing thecouple’s problem. The appropriateness of the model rests on itsemphasis on addressing the human emotions, which also happens to be amajor cause of the couple’s problem. According to Heatherington,Friedlander and Greenberg (2014),the emotionally focused therapy hinges on the theory that humanemotions comprise of innate adaptive potential, which if activated,plays a crucial role in helping one overcome problematic emotionalconditions. In other words, the underpinning theory considers thatthe human emotions are not the core constraints of therapeuticprocesses, but the individual’s inability to deal with the emotionsand use them to overcome the troubling problems. Besides, as Sextonand Schuster (2013)notes, since emotions and human essential needs are connected,emotions should be the main factor of focus in various psychotherapysystems, and if possible, should be integrated into cognitive,behavioral, and psychodynamic theories. Heatherington,Friedlander and Greenberg (2014note that emotions are important for self and group experiences, andis responsible for both adaptive and maladaptive functioning and,therefore, it is important for inducing therapeutic change. In lightof the Emotion-focused Therapy, change typically occurs throughstages of awareness, sensitization, regulation, reflection, andtransformation, and all these are facilitated by empatheticallyattuned relationship (Gurman,2012).Therefore, it is expected that, ifapplied, Emotion-focused Therapy will go a long way in addressing theproblem.
Thefamiliarity with the assigned readings and DVD
Variousdiscussions have suggested different ways that Emotion-focusedTherapy can help address maladaptive problems. Notably, the goal ofEmotion-focusedTherapy is to focus on maladaptive functions to address them.Ideally, the client is able to transform upon reaching the newadaptive emotional states that are induced by the therapy session.Based on the idea of emotional transformation, the therapist guidesclients towards expressing emotions attract connection andcompassion. SueJohnson and Les Greenberg, the proponents of emotionally focusedtherapy for couples, established that couples who are in distress areentangled in dreadful struggles with negative emotional experiencesthat render them helpless and unable to resolve personal conflicts.In this case, the process of emotional regulation is relevant tothree systems that are critical to successful Emotion-focused therapyfor couples: attachment styles, identity, and attraction or liking(Stavrianopoulos,2014).Sexton and Schuster (2013) documentdifferent forms of advantages associated with the emotional focusedtherapy. One of the advantages is that the therapeutic approach iscollaborative and respectful, and integrates the principles ofperson-centered therapy and systemic therapy. Secondly, thestrategies and processes leading to change are set out during thepsychotherapy process analysis. Thirdly, the approach is verifiablethrough empirical research, and that many research studies havesupported its efficacy. Fourthly, Emotion-focused therapy has beenapplied to different problems, including family and couplerelationships (Sexton& Schuster, 2013).
Couplesdynamics and structures causing the presenting problems
Thecouple’s dynamics and structures responsible for the problem can bebest ascertained based on the attachment styles that differentindividual’s exhibit. The first style of attachment is thatindividuals who are secure and trusting consider themselves lovable —they have the tendency of trusting themselves and the people theyshare a relationship with. In this regard, they exhibit satisfactoryemotional signs, are resourceful, flexible, and behavior normally.Such individuals also express their feelings and articulate theirneeds in a way that can be best understood. The second style ofattachment is that people who have limited ability of articulatingtheir feelings. They have problems acknowledging the need forattachment and do not communicate their relationship needs clearly.They assume a certain problematic position, and solve their problemswithout considering the consequences of this action on theirpartners. The third category of attachment comprises ofpsychologically reactive people. A person with this attachment hasthe tendency of demanding reassurance aggressively, and uses blame toengage their partners. The last category of attachment describespeople who have experienced traumatic event and fail to recover fromit, causing them to exhibit hostility, rather than attachment (Palmer &Efron, 2013).Relating this theory to Mrs.Doubtfire createsthe allowance to classify Daniel into thesecond style of attachment, in which individuals have limited abilityof articulating their feelings and take impassionate without dueconsiderations of the consequences they will have on partners. Theexamples of impassionate decisions that Daniel makes includesquitting a job without considering the family needs, and holding aparty on the back of Miranda,his wife.
Examplesthat support the hypotheses
Thepremise of emotion-focused therapy for couple is justifiable becausemany conflicts are born on misunderstanding and failure toaccommodate each other’s views. According to Manyrelationship problems leading to divorce begin with simple causessuch as the failure to manage anger (Sue,2013 Gurman,2012).
Alook at Mrs.Doubtfire revealshow misunderstanding, distance and impassionate actions between thepartners elicit emotions that culiminate to a filed divorce. Anexample of this act is when Danielasks Miranda, “How about we take a vacation, take the kids, get youaway from work, you`ll see that you`re a different person. You are.You`re great”. Miranda is filled with anger and can only rely “Oh,Daniel, our problems would be just waiting for us when we got back”.Consequently, Daniel becomes a little disappointed with the commentand pulls a joke to ridicule Miranda’ s stand. He says, “Well,we`ll move. And hopefully our problems won`t follow us”. Mirandareplies, “… please don`t joke. We`re far apart. We`re different.We have nothing in common”. However, Daniel does not seem to heedto her emotions when he insists “Sure we do. We love each other…We love each other… Don`t we?”. And that is when Miranda turns torequest for a divorce. Such an observation makes it likely that themodel will most likely achieve desirable results.
Thestrengths and resources that would enable this couple to tackle theirchallenges more effectively
Emotion-focusedtherapy for couple lends itself as the most suitable resource toenable the couple overcomes the challenge effectively. In this model,the therapist takes charge in leading the couple through systematicsteps of recovery, with one leading to the other. Persons with mildstress work their way through the steps in a relatively faster way.The therapy takes place in three stages. The first stage isstabilization. The therapists identify the relational conflictsbetween the partners, while striving to identify the negative cyclesthat the issue is manifested. The therapists also seek to access theattachment emotions that the partners have and also reframes theproblem based on acknowledged emotions, the needs of attachment andproblem cycle. In fulfilling the requirements of this stage,therapists strive to create an enabling environment for the couple toopen up and discuss sharing the view about the therapy. From theconversations, the therapist may understand the clients’ past andbe able to predict their present situation.
Thesecond step is bond restructuring. Here, the therapist strives toaccess the implicit or disowned needs and troubling emotions.Subsequently, the partner’s acceptances of each other’sexperiences are promoted. The partners are taught on how to expresseach other’s needs and ways of restructuring their relations basedon new perspectives, as well as on ways of revitalizing the bonds.This stage essentially involves widening the scope of partner’semotional experiences and changing their interactions andperspectives regarding the needs. The beginning may prove relativelydifficult for clients to recognize the attachment needs. However,through continued awareness, it becomes easy to accept and embracechange.
Thelast step is integration and consolidation. In this stage, thetherapists strive to facilitate the client in formulating newsolutions to address the troubling old problems and then reinforcethe new behaviors. Moreover, this stage revolves around reflectionsand self-conception to encourage positive emotional change.
Itis noteworthy that such interventions should be complemented bysocial support. Existing literature indicates that social supportplays an integral role in individuals suffering from emotionalproblem. For example, Ecker(2015) assertsthat quality support care enhances clients’ recovery process byfocusing on improving their quality life and supporting them to livewell with the disorder and continue with curative therapy. Ecker,Hulley and Ticic (2015)further assert that patient and family members are regarded as anintegral component of supportive care. Supportive care includesaspects of care provision such as palliative care, spiritual care,complementary therapies, patient education, information provision,self-help, psychological support, rehabilitation, as well as symptomscontrol (Elliott(2014)Moreover,Stavrianopoulos(2014),based on the study by veterans, suggested that social support, whenused with other emotional focused therapy, is 90 percent effective intreating emotional disorders.
Threeculturally sensitive therapeutic interventions
Alook at the conflict between Daniel and Mirandareveals the significance of cultural issues that might need to beovercome through designing a culturally sensitive therapeutic care.One of the elements that the therapist will need to consider is theengendered cultural roles. The therapist will particularly need toconsider how to help the couple restructure their emotions withoutcontravening the popular belief of a man as the head of the family.The second element that will need to be considered is family values.Here, the therapist will need to seek to impart change upon thecouple without overriding the family-based values. The third elementis the professional roles, and this demand the therapist to ensurethat their restructuring process does not interfere with the clientprofessional roles. These three elements are crucial because theydefine the scope of livelihood the client straddle to enjoy a happyand fulfilling lifestyle.
Howthese interventions will help this couple change its problematicdynamics and structures
Thetenets of the emotion-focused therapy do not differ significantlyfrom those of the standard family-based therapy. One of the popularmodels, as far as family therapy is concerned, is Bowenian model.According to Bowen postulates that family problems are caused byemotional fusion, as well as from the increase in anxiety in thefamily. Members suffering from emotional problems are considered asleast differentiated and are limited in terms of ability to beinfluenced by the rest of the family members. The affectedindividuals take in the anxiety and worries of the family and becomedebilitated. Families are faced with two types of problems thevertical and horizontal challenges. Vertical problems are oftenpassed from the parents to the children, and that the adults withdistant and constrained relationship with their children will nothave a close relationship with their children hence the inability totransfer the feelings of the problems to their children. Horizontalproblems are triggered by environmental stressors or transitionsfollowing family developments. Such could be triggered by chronicillnesses, the loss of the family members, or the loss of property.It is also noteworthy that horizontal stresses could also betriggered by the social processes, such as when a family relocates toa new cultural setting whose values compete with those that arealready possessed by the family members. Bowen theorizes that theworst happens when horizontal and vertical problems occur at onetime, and that such could be accompanied by posttraumatic stressdisorder. Bowensuggests that the modality approach to such a problem include:
reframing the problem as a multigenerational issue that goes beyond individual control reducing the anxiety within the family to enable members to respond to the issue in a calm and sober manner
increasing differentiation to enable the adult members to deal with the issue to ease pressure on the family units,
integrating therapists as part of the interventional approaches, establishing a relationship to detach them from the problems,
Re-establishing ties with the members that have been cut off,and focusing on the overall happiness and health of the family, while evaluating the adaptive progress.
Inconclusion, the aim of this paper has been to explorethe significance of Emotion-focused Therapy in addressing the mentalproblems, focusing on the case of characters Daniel and Miranda asfeatured in Mrs.Doubtfire, a1993 comedy drama film. It has been shown that Mrs.Doubtfireis a typical case example of emotional-related complications that canbe addressed through Emotion-focused Therapy. Although DanielHillard, the main character, a voice actor is a loving father ofthree children, Natalie, Lydia and Chris, he is an unreliable husbandwho quits his job because of a disagreement over a script, and actswithout caring about Miranda’s feelings. His behavior results indisagreement, causing her to file a divorce.
Emotion-focusedtherapy for couple lends itself as the most suitable method to enablethe couple overcomes the challenge effectively. SueJohnson and Les Greenberg, the proponents of the model, establishedthat couples who are in distress are entangled in dreadful struggleswith negative emotional experiences that render them helpless andunable to resolve personal conflicts.Inthis model, the therapist takes charge in leading the couple throughsystematic steps of recovery. Change typically occurs through stagesof awareness, sensitization, regulation, reflection, andtransformation, and all these are facilitated by empatheticallyattuned relationship.Such interventions should be complemented bysocial support. Existing literature indicates that social supportplays an integral role in individuals suffering from emotionalproblems.
However,culturalissues that might need to be overcome through designing a culturallysensitive therapeutic care include cultural values, family roles, andprofessional roles. Itis also noted that the tenets of the emotion-focused therapy do notdiffer significantly from those of the standard family-based therapy.As suggested by the Bowenian model, the family problems are caused byemotional fusion, as well as from the increase in anxiety in thefamily, which emotion-focused therapy strives to address.
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