Saturday, July 23, 2022

Helping our patients to hold space for their uncomfortable feelings and process them in helpful ways

I’ve seen two men today who are quite “thinking mind” orientated. Having said that, I’ve seen many women who are this way inclined too. They find the “feeling mind” unreliable and uncomfortable. So they often avoid it or suppress it. But when they are in a relationship and have a family of their own, it’s hard to escape from the “feeling mind”.

That’s when their inexperience with the “feeling mind” creates unhealthy stress for them.

Counseling is partly to help them hold space for those uncomfortable feelings, recognized them, acknowledge them, name them, see it as “information”, learn to process and decode them, integrate that with their “thinking mind”, and use it appropriately to guide value based actions.

I am sure that you have seen many of those folks too.

So how can we convince these folks to learn more about the “feeling mind”?

First of all, I don’t usually frame it as “counseling” for these folks. “Counseling” can be a very uncomfortable concept for many of these folks too. Talking about feelings is not very appealing to them.

I often use the analogy of “thinking” is like English and “feeling” is like French, and the world is speaking both English and French. One is not better than the other but often, we have to be “bilingual” in order to communicate and navigate this world more effectively. Interestingly, their partner and about half of their children will often speak the “feeling” language if they prefer the “thinking” language.

So do they want to learn French because important people in their lives speak French? If yes, then they have to commit to that and do what matters to them.

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