Living an emotional life is part of being human, but there seems to be a split between camps: those who overemphasize the role of emotions in decision making and those who neglect the importance of emotions in daily life.
Our emotions are an important part of our personal evolution. Our feelings can alert us to danger, help us to navigate social situations, communicate with others and clue us in to important information. However, our emotions can also drive us to act irrationally or make decisions that are useful only in the short term.
If you feel that your emotions are ruling your life or you’re afraid to embrace your emotions all together, emotion-focused therapy may be for you.
They contribute to the way we express awareness, acceptance, expression, use, regulation and personal transformation of emotions. The goals of emotion-focused therapy are to identify emotional distress, find strategies to relieve it and create purpose in our human condition.
How does emotion-focused therapy help?
Once you understand what emotion-focused therapy is, you may be wondering how it works. EFT, like most other traditional therapeutic approaches, uses psychotherapy (or talk therapy) as its main mode of implementation. This generally occurs on a one-on-one basis with a psychologist or counselor.
The facilitator guides an individual through EFT by focusing on both favorable and unfavorable emotions, gleaning essential information about past experiences to prepare for future ones. Extracting meaning from circumstances that are dense with emotion can help someone to balance logic with sensation. EFT can help people to make productive use of their emotions, according to the APA.
What are some emotion-focused therapy techniques?
There are numerous emotion-focused therapy techniques that are standard despite modifications to fit each practitioner’s application of the framework. Here are some techniques you may experience when you partake in EFT.
Defining emotions: until a person is able to name and categorize different feelings, progress will be minimal
Emotion coaching: helping someone to identify and articulate emotional experiences often requires some type of guidance
Narrating: our emotional experiences are foundation for building a narrative of our life story
Evaluating the source of an emotion: we often confuse or exaggerate the impetus of our feelings, so learning to isolate the source of a sensation can make it easier to handle
Sit in negative emotions: EFT teaches that negative emotions are not to be avoided, but embraced so they can be learned from. This can also build distress tolerance, an essential skill for all stages of life
Challenge unhelpful emotions: negative emotions can be constructive, but they can also build neuroticism. EFT can help a person learn to change his or her emotional responses
Create coping skills: over the course of years, we tend to develop maladaptive emotions that require us to retrain our old habits so that they are more constructive and rational
Consult medical advice: determine if there are any chemical or hormonal imbalances that could be interfering with your overall emotional health
While emotions can be positive forces in our lives, we must remember to keep them in balance. Emotion-focused therapy techniques can teach you useful tools for using your emotions to your benefit.
What are some goals of emotion-focused therapy?
Emotion-focused therapy goals have a wide range and they will each need to be adapted to the individual in therapy. While only you and your care team can determine the most appropriate goals to work towards, here are some ideas to spark your interest in EFT.
To decrease reactivity to events by implementing mindfulness meditations nightly
To encourage emotional expression using a picture chart
To identify complex emotions by journaling
To process patterns of emotions by reflecting on habitual reactions to repeated events
To discover underlying emotions to negative behaviors
To create coping strategies to master impulsive emotions
Emotion-focused therapy techniques can help you reach these goals in no time. Soon, you’ll feel in control of your reactions and behavior so you can embrace your emotions without giving them the reins.
EFT for your health
Emotion-focused therapy can improve your whole life. Your mental, emotional and physical well being can all be impacted when you have a healthy control over your own feelings. It takes practice to process repressed emotions without letting them overwhelm you, but with the right help, a calm mind is within reach.
If you’ve struggled with unmanageable negative thoughts or feelings, Tapestry is here to help. With the right support you can make intrinsic change so you can live a happy life, full of purpose. Call now to find out more and get on the path to emotional wellness.