Johnson credits Fritz Perls with the experiential gestalt concept that is critical to EFT (Greenberg & Johnson, 2005; Johnson, 2003). In the experiential approaches,
the goal of therapy is . . . to increase awareness of emotional experience so that it is available as orienting information in dealing with the environment, and to help clients become aware of and responsive to the action tendencies toward which feelings prompt them (Greenberg, 2006, p. 501).
EFT involves the therapist's creative involvement with the clients in a manner in which the therapist moves the clients into a structure of therapy that progresses beyond simple construction. That is, although EFT initially very much outlines conflict struggles in the clients with simple terms and concepts to invite client acceptance of the problems, as therapy moves onward, painting pictures becomes more of the art of therapy (Johnson, 2003).
Experiential theory incorporates the complete being of the client in the present here-and-now focus. Johnson observed that it is the exception rather than the rule to delve into deep unconscious experience or repressed memories, as there is plenty of substantial information right in front of the therapist's eyes (Johnson, 2003). The substance of EFT is the client, including what and how the client experienced communication in the client's senses, body, and expressions (Perls, 1969). The verbal communication is secondary to the therapist: Words can lie, but expression does not.
EFT and Humanistic Theory
After the first movement of psychodynamic psychology and the second movement of behaviorism, the third movement of humanistic psychology (later, Humanistic Existential) emphasizes in the client a potential capability toward "self-directed growth" (Corey, 2001, p. 205). . The therapist's belief that the client has both strength and desire to fulfil potentialities positively affects the client's progress: "Individuals have within themselves vast resources for self-understanding and for altering their self concepts, basic attitudes, and self-directed behavior; these resources can be tapped if a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided" (Rogers, 2001, p. 115). Thus, EFT adopts a therapeutic act of honoring the client as a unique human being (Greenberg & Johnson, 2005; Johnson, 2003). This empathic interaction increases a client's congruence, a term Rogers used to describe the incorporation of self and experiences as they become more similar, unitary, and true.
EFT and Existential Theory
Existential theory concerns itself with core structures of the self, including meaning, being, crisis, anxiety, freedom, responsibility, guilt, and death. While Johnson summarized the "I-thou" relationship, an existential concept from Martin Buber (Greenberg & Johnson, 2005; Johnson, 2003), she presented presumptuously existential concepts within the EFT theoretical framework. Studying the client from a phenomenological perspective embraces the assumption that the client is the expert in his or her world. The job of the client is to assist the therapist to enter that client's experiential world. As such, this position of the client enhances the qualities necessary for the therapist to be as accepting, nonjudgmental, and genuine as