Therapist presence in emotionally focused couple therapy blamer softening events: promoting change through emotional experience

J Marital Fam Ther. 2012 Jun;38 Suppl 1:39-49. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2012.00293.x. Epub 2012 May 15.


The blamer softening event has been associated with successful treatment outcomes in emotionally focused couple therapy. Previous research has highlighted the critical role of softening events and heightened emotional experience in best sessions of emotionally focused couple therapy (EFT). This study examined the effects of a therapist's emotional presence in predicting heightened levels of client emotional experience in blamer softening events. Findings from a detailed analysis of successful and unsuccessful EFT softening attempts demonstrated that a therapist's emotional presence and corresponding evocative vocal quality were more likely to predict heightened levels of client emotional experience in successful softening attempts. Implications of these findings are reviewed in light of EFT research and practice.

MeSH terms

  • Couples Therapy / methods*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Voice Quality