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The Full Story: Affective Neuroscience in Psychotherapy

The goal of this book is to provide clinicians with a new approach to psychotherapy, one that focuses on emotions directly. This is distinct from cognitions or behaviors common in CBT or insight common in psychodynamic approaches. Interventions from other therapeutic modalities can be integrated with the emotions based approach, however this offers a paradigm shift in how we think about and approach psychotherapy.  This text approaches emotions as something to be utilized and learned from as opposed to be solely regulated. This is the unique innovation of the book. There are hundreds of books on regulating or managing emotions, but few take this perspective. This is a timely and important topic as rates of psychopathology increase in the general public. Unfortunately psychotherapy has stagnated because of fractured theoretical modalities. This book offers a new way forward, with a novel perspective shift in treating mental illness where previous forms of psychotherapy have failed. The book explains this emotional approach through research in affective neuroscience, which also additionally provides corroboration for this approach. This book takes a practiced based approach to the application of emotions in psychotherapy. 


Emotion in psychotherapy is presented in a sequential manner to better help clinicians understand how they might work through a psychological problem with a patient. The process starts with the recognition of emotions. Then emotional validation is introduced, before finally helping patients to provide self-compassion for their feelings. Patients are taught how to better understand their emotions, distinguishing between past and present feelings. The benefits of recognizing and utilizing specific emotions to solve problems in psychotherapy are explained. Interventions are also provided for specific emotions, such as anger, loneliness, anxiety, jealously, compulsive desires, shame, and guilt. Additionally the book covers affect/memory reconsolidation, for trauma or deeply ingrained emotions, which changes baseline emotion states.

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“The field of mental health has been starving for a more comprehensive, integrative explanation for positive treatment effects in psychotherapy. Dr. Francis L. Stevens’s Affective Neuroscience in Psychotherapy: A Clinician’s Guide for Working with Emotions explains what we have been missing all along.”

Karin Maria Hodges, Psychologist, Private Practice, Concord, MA

“Cognitive approaches to psychotherapy have come to dominate the field in recent decades, in part because of their solid scientific foundation. They typically view emotional distress as a symptom to be reduced. Psychotherapy approaches that emphasize experiencing and processing emotional distress are effective but less well validated. This excellent book aims to restore the balance and does more to link recent advances in basic affective neuroscience and psychotherapy practice than any other. Recommended for beginning psychotherapists as well as any clinician who takes emotional processing in psychotherapy seriously and wants to know how and why it works.”

Richard D. Lane, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, University of Arizona; Editor (with Lynn Nadel) of Neuroscience of Enduring Change: Implications for Psychotherapy (Oxford University Press)

“Dr. Stevens has done a fine job of compiling recent information on affective neuroscience and its application to therapy. His clinical examples help to illustrate key concepts. This book provides a helpful introduction to these topics.”

Alexis D. Abernethy, Ph.D., Professor of Clinical Psychology, School of Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy, Fuller Theological Seminary


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