Counseling and Neurofeedback in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County.
Feeling and Dealing while Relating
Diana Fosha, developer of a form of psychotherapy called Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP for short) talks about how, as human beings, we tend to be at our best when we are able to feel our feelings and be informed by what they tell us. Emotions provide us with valuable information – for example, our anger tells us that a boundary has been crossed, or our sadness tells us that something has been lost. In addition to providing information, emotions also energize us to take action – to re-establish a boundary when we are angry, for example, or to seek the loving attention of someone close when we are sad. Emotions are necessary and a really important part of the human experience.
Life experience can make it really hard for us to feel our feelings though, and some of us get really good at dealing with things (i.e., going into problem-solving, being in our heads) as a way to avoid feeling. Others of us feel too much perhaps – our emotions get the best of us or we are flooded and paralyzed with feelings all the time. Fosha refers to the former pattern as “dealing without feeling,” and to the latter as “feeling without dealing.”
Ultimately, we want to find the sweet spot where we are able to feel our feelings so that they motivate us to and deal with things, while simultaneously remaining connected to others. Psychotherapy provides just the right environment for developing this capacity. Let’s face it – most of us were never taught what to do with our emotions. Learning the skill of feeling and dealing while relating can have a lasting impact on our relationships, sense of self, and overall mental health and well being.
Sil Machado, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist in Santa Rosa, CA. He provides therapy for depression, anxiety, and trauma, and works extensively with the LGBTQ community. He also provides neurofeedback in Santa Rosa, CA.