Les Greenberg

Last updated

Les Greenberg (Leslie Samuel Greenberg) (born 30 September 1945) is a Canadian psychologist born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is one of the originators and primary developers of Emotion-Focused Therapy for individuals and couples. [1] He is a professor emeritus of psychology at York University in Toronto, and also director of the Emotion-Focused Therapy Clinic in Toronto. [2] His research has addressed questions regarding empathy, psychotherapy process, the therapeutic alliance, and emotion in human functioning. [1]


Greenberg studied engineering and worked as an engineer before earning his Ph.D. in psychology from York University in 1975. [1] [2] With his mentor Laura North Rice, who had studied with Carl Rogers at the University of Chicago, he began doing psychotherapy process research, attempting to mathematically model therapist–client interactions and using techniques of task analysis. [1] He was also influenced early in his career by Juan Pascual-Leone's neo-Piagetian constructivist model of mind. [1] His first academic position was at the University of British Columbia in counseling psychology, and he completed an externship at the Mental Research Institute in California in 1981. [1] Initially trained in a client-centered therapy approach, he then trained in Gestalt therapy and over the years was exposed to many other approaches including systemic-interactional, psychodynamic and cognitive therapy. [1] He returned to York University in 1986 as professor of psychology. [1]

Greenberg has published numerous articles and co-authored the major books on emotion-focused approaches to psychotherapy. He is a founding member of the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration (SEPI) and a past president of the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR), from which he received the Distinguished Research Career Award in 2004. [1] The Canadian Psychological Association awarded him the Professional Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology as a Profession, and the American Psychological Association awarded him the APA Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Research and the Carl Rogers Award. [1] He has been on the editorial board of many psychotherapy journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology , Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology , Journal of Family Psychology , Journal of Marital & Family Therapy , Journal of Psychotherapy Integration and Psychotherapy Research . [3]

Selected publications


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Leslie S. Greenberg: Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Research". American Psychologist . 67 (8): 695–697. November 2012. doi:10.1037/a0030302. PMID   23163463.
  2. 1 2 "Faculty of Health: Leslie S. Greenberg". York University. Archived from the original on 13 December 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  3. "Curriculum Vitae: Leslie Greenberg". September 2005. Archived from the original on 17 May 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2015.

Related Research Articles

Psychotherapy is the use of psychological methods, particularly when based on regular personal interaction with adults, to help a person change behavior and overcome problems in desired ways. Psychotherapy aims to improve an individual's well-being and mental health, to resolve or mitigate troublesome behaviors, beliefs, compulsions, thoughts, or emotions, and to improve relationships and social skills. There is also a range of psychotherapies designed for children and adolescents, which typically involve play, such as sandplay. Certain psychotherapies are considered evidence-based for treating some diagnosed mental disorders. Others have been criticized as pseudoscience.

Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory, and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development. Central to its practice are psychological assessment, clinical formulation, and psychotherapy, although clinical psychologists also engage in research, teaching, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development and administration. In many countries, clinical psychology is a regulated mental health profession.

Person-centered therapy, also known as person-centered psychotherapy, person-centered counseling, client-centered therapy and Rogerian psychotherapy, is a form of psychotherapy developed by psychologist Carl Rogers beginning in the 1940s and extending into the 1980s. Person-centered therapy seeks to facilitate a client's self-actualizing tendency, "an inbuilt proclivity toward growth and fulfillment", via acceptance, therapist congruence (genuineness), an empathic understanding.

Acceptance and commitment therapy Counseling form developed by Steven Hayes in 1982

Acceptance and commitment therapy is a form of counseling and a branch of clinical behavior analysis. It is an empirically-based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies mixed in different ways with commitment and behavior-change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. The approach was originally called comprehensive distancing. Steven C. Hayes developed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 1982 in order to create a mixed approach which integrates both cognitive and behavioral therapy. There are a variety of protocols for ACT, depending on the target behavior or setting. For example, in behavioral health areas a brief version of ACT is called focused acceptance and commitment therapy (FACT).

Coherence therapy is a system of psychotherapy based in the theory that symptoms of mood, thought and behavior are produced coherently according to the person's current mental models of reality, most of which are implicit and unconscious. It was founded by Bruce Ecker and Laurel Hulley in the 1990s. It is currently considered among the most well respected postmodern/constructivist therapies.

Emotionally focused therapy and emotion-focused therapy (EFT) are a family of related approaches to psychotherapy with individuals, couples, or families. EFT approaches include elements of experiential therapy, systemic therapy, and attachment theory. EFT is usually a short-term treatment. EFT approaches are based on the premise that human emotions are connected to human needs, and therefore emotions have an innately adaptive potential that, if activated and worked through, can help people change problematic emotional states and interpersonal relationships. Emotion-focused therapy for individuals was originally known as process-experiential therapy, and it is still sometimes called by that name.

Emotional self-regulation or emotion regulation is the ability to respond to the ongoing demands of experience with the range of emotions in a manner that is socially tolerable and sufficiently flexible to permit spontaneous reactions as well as the ability to delay spontaneous reactions as needed. It can also be defined as extrinsic and intrinsic processes responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and modifying emotional reactions. Emotional self-regulation belongs to the broader set of emotion regulation processes, which includes both the regulation of one's own feelings and the regulation of other people's feelings.

James W. Pennebaker U.S. psychology professor and language analyst

James W. Pennebaker is an American social psychologist. He is the Centennial Liberal Arts Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. His research focuses on the relationship between natural language use, health, and social behavior, most recently "how everyday language reflects basic social and personality processes".

A clinical formulation, also known as case formulation and problem formulation, is a theoretically-based explanation or conceptualisation of the information obtained from a clinical assessment. It offers a hypothesis about the cause and nature of the presenting problems and is considered an adjunct or alternative approach to the more categorical approach of psychiatric diagnosis. In clinical practice, formulations are used to communicate a hypothesis and provide framework for developing the most suitable treatment approach. It is most commonly used by clinical psychologists and psychiatrists and is deemed to be a core component of these professions. Mental health nurses and social workers may also use formulations.

Common factors theory, a theory guiding some research in clinical psychology and counseling psychology, proposes that different approaches and evidence-based practices in psychotherapy and counseling share common factors that account for much of the effectiveness of a psychological treatment. This is in contrast to the view that the effectiveness of psychotherapy and counseling is best explained by specific or unique factors that are suited to treatment of particular problems. According to one review, "it is widely recognized that the debate between common and unique factors in psychotherapy represents a false dichotomy, and these factors must be integrated to maximize effectiveness". In other words, "therapists must engage in specific forms of therapy for common factors to have a medium through which to operate". Common factors is one route by which psychotherapy researchers have attempted to integrate psychotherapies.

Flexibility is a personality trait that describes the extent to which a person can cope with changes in circumstances and think about problems and tasks in novel, creative ways. This trait is used when stressors or unexpected events occur, requiring a person to change their stance, outlook, or commitment. Flexible personality should not be confused with cognitive flexibility, which is the ability to switch between two concepts, as well as simultaneously think about multiple concepts. Researchers of cognitive flexibility describe it as the ability to switch one's thinking and attention between tasks. Flexibility, or psychological flexibility, as it is sometimes referred to, is the ability to adapt to situational demands, balance life demands, and commit to behaviors.

Future-oriented therapy (FOT) and future-directed therapy (FDT) are approaches to psychotherapy that place greater emphasis on the future than on the past or present.

Experiential avoidance (EA) has been broadly defined as attempts to avoid thoughts, feelings, memories, physical sensations, and other internal experiences—even when doing so creates harm in the long-run. The process of EA is thought to be maintained through negative reinforcement—that is, short-term relief of discomfort is achieved through avoidance, thereby increasing the likelihood that the behavior will persist. Importantly, the current conceptualization of EA suggests that it is not negative thoughts, emotions, and sensations that are problematic, but how one responds to them that can cause difficulties. In particular, a habitual and persistent unwillingness to experience uncomfortable thoughts and feelings is thought to be linked to a wide range of problems.

A decisional balance sheet or decision balance sheet is a tabular method for representing the pros and cons of different choices and for helping someone decide what to do in a certain circumstance. It is often used in working with ambivalence in people who are engaged in behaviours that are harmful to their health, as part of psychological approaches such as those based on the transtheoretical model of change, and in certain circumstances in motivational interviewing.

John C. Norcross is an American professor, clinical psychologist, and board-certified specialist in psychotherapy, behavior change, and self-help.

Vittorio Filippo Guidano was an Italian neuropsychiatrist, creator of the cognitive procedural systemic model and contributor to post-rationalist constructivist cognitive psychotherapy. His cognitive post-rationalist model was influenced by attachment theory, evolutionary epistemology, complex systems theory, and the prevalence of abstract mental processes proposed by Friedrich Hayek. Guidano conceived the personal system as a self-organized entity, in constant development.

Control mastery theory or CMT is an integrative theory of how psychotherapy works, that draws on psychodynamic, relational and cognitive principles. Originally the theory was developed within a psychoanalytical framework, by psychoanalyst and researcher Joseph Weiss, MD (1924-2004). CMT is also a theory of how the mind operates, with an emphasis of the unconscious, and how psychological problems may develop based on traumatic experiences early in life. The name of the theory comes from two central premises; the assumption that people have control over their mental content, and the belief that patients who come to therapy are fundamentally motivated to master their lives.

Diana Fosha is an American psychologist, known for developing accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy (AEDP) and for her work on the psychotherapy of adults suffering the effects of childhood attachment trauma and abuse.

Stefan Hofmann American Psychology professor

Stefan G. Hofmann is a German-born clinical psychologist at the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University. He is one of the foremost experts in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, especially for anxiety disorders.

Robert L. Leahy American psychologist and author

Robert L. Leahy is a psychologist and author and editor of 28 books dedicated to cognitive behaviour therapy. He is Director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York and Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. In 2014, Robert L. Leahy received the Aaron T. Beck Award from the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. He is Past President of The Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, The Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and The International Association of Cognitive Therapy. He is the former Editor of The Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy. Leahy was born in Alexandria, Virginia, the son of James J Leahy, a salesman, and Lillian DeVita, an executive secretary. His parents separated when he was 18 months old and his mother moved Robert and his older brother Jim to New Haven, Connecticut. He was educated at Yale University and later completed a Post-doctoral Fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School under the direction of Aaron T. Beck, M.D., the Founder of Cognitive Therapy. He is a Distinguished Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Leahy became interested in Beck's Cognitive Therapy model after becoming disillusioned with the psychodynamic model which he felt lacked sufficient empirical support. Many of his clinical books have been instrumental in disseminating the cognitive therapy model in its application to the treatment of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, jealousy, and emotion regulation. In addition, he has published widely on the application of the cognitive model to the therapeutic relationship, transference and counter-transference, resistance to change, and beliefs about emotion regulation that may underpin problematic strategies for coping with or responding to emotions in the therapeutic context. His clinical and popular audience books have been translated into 21 languages. Leahy has expanded the cognitive model with his social cognitive model of emotion which he refers to as Emotional Schema Therapy. According to this model individuals differ in their beliefs about the legitimacy of certain emotions, their duration, the ability to express emotions, the need to control emotions, how similar their emotions are to those of others and the ability to tolerate ambivalent feelings. These beliefs and the strategies connected to them are referred to as "emotional schemas". The Emotional Schema Model draws on Beck's cognitive model, the metacognitive model advanced by AdrIan Wells, the Acceptance and Commitment Model advanced by Steven C. Hayes, and on social cognitive research on attribution processes and implicit theories of emotion. Leahy has described how his model can help in understanding and treating jealousy, envy, ambivalence and other emotions and how these emotional schemas can impact intimate relationships and affect the therapeutic relationship. In addition to his work on emotional schemas, Leahy has written about problematic styles of judgment and decision making that are relevant in depression and anxiety disorders. These include biased evaluations in over-estimating or under-estimating risk, sunk-cost effects, regret anticipation, rumination over regret, and inaccurate predictions of emotions following anticipated outcomes.