The emotion-focused assessment and following therapy follows a process, the two main processes being, interpersonal factors, and emotional cycles. Functional assessment has derived from the applied behavior paradigm. In this context functional means the cause of behavior (Carbone & Zecchini, 2008). The process establishes the function, or cause, of the maladaptive behavior before developing an intervention. This intervention is created from the hypothesized function of the maladaptive behavior. If the intervention is unsuccessful in establishing the function then it is very likely that the results will be ineffective in changing the identified maladaptive behaviours (Starin, 2007). These two therapies though from different psychological schools of thought, and therefore have many differences, nevertheless have several similarities as well.
Emotion-focused therapy is a structured, short-term therapy, created in the early 1980s. It is historical based in client-centred, gestalt and existential theories. Client-centred therapies are from the humanistic paradigm, they are non-directive, do not search for interpretations, and center on the client actualizing their potential. Gestalt therapy is based on the theory that the brain is holistic, but that 'getting a whole consistent picture and seeing what the structure of the whole requires for the parts' (Wertheimer, 1959, cited in Gestalt Theory, 2008, p.1). Existential therapy stems from the belief that people are on their own in the world. Therefore, people form their own meanings and values, and have the power to make their own choices. For this reason, every individual is responsible for his or her own happiness. Emotion-focused therapy also has an extensive background in attachment theory, which gives the therapy a broader and more in depth understanding of the client's needs and the problems they are experiencing due to past or present family relationships. The approach focuses on how a person is responsible for their own response patterns to emotional processes. A large amount of research has assessed that this therapy is very effective. Research has shown that between 70-75% of clients who enter into emotion-focused therapy will go into recovery and that nearly 90% will significantly improve (ICEEFT, 2008).
Greenburg (2004a) states that emotion can be perceived as a form of information processing which is fundamental to a person's survival, and their ability to adapt to the world around them. Research has shown that emotion can improve memory, help to focus attention, and may influence cognitive processing. In addition, emotion can regulate behavior and help to develop healthy attachments. These processes influence why people will perform certain activities and behaviors. It is not just a result of their beliefs and value systems alone, but also because it makes them feel good or bad. Humans seek to control these feelings by trying to maximize the good feelings and minimize the bad ones. The reactions to these pleasant or unpleasant feelings and the attempt to control them are a person's motivation for action and change. Moreover, these emotions are used to evaluate situations that enhance personal well being and happiness, rather than because they are rational or right (Greenburg, 2004a). Therefore,