Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD


Expressing Emotion

Myths, Realities & Therapeutic Strategies

by Eileen Kennedy-Moore & Jeanne C. Watson
(Guilford Press, for professionals)
ISBN: 978-1572306943

Read an excerpt    Discussion questions    Author Interview   Academic Papers

About the Book

cover-Expressing-Emotion-300x462“Expression is the link between internal experience and the outside world. It is intimately connected to who we are, how we feel, and how we relate to others,” write psychologists Eileen Kennedy-Moore and Jeanne C. Watson. This comprehensive volume has been called “the Michelin Guide to emotion.” With clinical sensitivity and empirical rigor, the authors describe the many forms of emotional expression and nonexpression and their implications for personal well-being and social relationships. Vivid clinical examples translate theory into practice. This clearly written book guides mental health professionals and students in understanding and treating problems in emotional behavior.


  1. Expression, Nonexpression, and Well-Being
  2. The Myth of Emotional Venting
  3. Blind Spots and Epiphanies
  4. The “Shoulds,” “Oughts.” And “Musts” of Emotional Behavior
  5. Family Socialization of Emotional Behavior
  6. Men, Women, and the Language of Love
  7. Telling One’s Troubles
  8. Expression and Nonexpression in Psychotherapy
  9. Beyond Sadness
  10. Flooding or Blunting
  11. Emotional Expression in Marital Therapy
  12. Expression-Related Interventions in Health Psychology
  13. 13. Balance in Emotional Behavior

Praise from Experts

“This book may well become the “Michelin Guide” for anyone touring the emotion literature. The authors have done a brilliant job in showing how emotion and its expression can serve as the basic organizing feature of much of modern-day psychology.”
– James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D. University of Texas, Austin; author of Opening Up

“Providing a creative mix of research findings and clinical guidelines, this volume is an invaluable reference for clinicians and researchers alike.”
– Marvin R. Goldfried, Ph.D., co-editor of Handbook of Psychotherpy Integration

“A creative and thoughtful analysis of the costs and consequences of expressing our emotions or withholding them. The authors interweave scientific findings with powerful case examples to illustrate how emotional expression and nonexpression affect many important domains, including health, close relationships, and personal growth. This is an invaluable resource for clinicians wishing to promote self-regulation, self-understanding, and enhanced coping among their clients.”
– Camille B. Wortman, Ph.D., Stony Brook University

Praise from Reviewers

“They provide practical guidelines for working generally with emotion in psychotherapy, therapeutic guidelines for treating emotional constriction in depression, advice for helping clients who are flooding or blunting as a result of bereavement and/or trauma, insight into the dynamics of emotional expression in marital therapy, and expression-related interventions in health psychology… I am completely in awe of this book….I cannot recommend this text highly enough. I can honestly say that, in the literature on working with emotion in psychotherapy, Expressing Emotion is the very best around.”
– Brent Dean Robbins, Mental Help Net, MetaPsychology Book Reviews

“It is impossible to do justice in a brief review to this excellent contribution to the literature on emotions. The authors’ comprehensive dissection of the scientific research is impressive. They have culled the literature to present a clear, sound analysis of the effects of expressing or withholding emotions on physical well-being, psychological functioning, and interpersonal relationships. They demonstrate, through multiple examples of clinical practice, the complexities and paradoxes of emotional expression or nonexpression and, in doing so, establish their central thesis: that balance emotional behavior is characterized by integration flexibility, and interpersonal coordination. ”
– Margaret C. Kiely, Ph.D., Readings: A Journal of Reviews and Commentary in Mental Health

“The authors…have accomplished the daunting feat of artfully combining a robust review of research with practical, clinical understanding….their work will serve as a comprehensive source book for understanding emotions and emotional expression for decades to come… capable of serving as a text for undergraduate or graduate courses, as well as an enjoyable book for anyone interested in understanding the complexities of human emotions. Despite its length, my interest never waned. After twenty years in clinical practice, I was still challenged by the co-authors’ sharp eye in dissecting our understanding of emotions and re-assembling the knowledge into a compelling model of emotional behavior..”
– Journal of Psychotherapy in Independent Practice

Praise from Readers

“An excellent resource for both clinicians and researchers, this book is clear and well-written and contains a wealth of useful information about relevant research studies and their clinical implications.