Are You Feeling Kind of Stuck? Maybe Even in Your Counseling Sessions?

Not accessing our core emotions (joy, sadness, fear, disgust, excitement, anger, and desire/sexual excitement) and letting them “ride the wave” of emotion might be what’s at play.

Defenses are strategies we use (intentionally or unintentionally) that keep us from feeling our emotions/sensations. Some examples of defenses are: humor, perfectionism, procrastination, dissociation, intellectualizing, apathy, changing the subject

Defenses aren’t *bad*–they were likely needed previously in our lives and are worth evaluating if they are still needed (and in all the situations they are used).

Inhibitory affects are emotions that we learned to “take on” when it wasn’t okay to feel our core emotions for whatever reason. These include: shame, guilt, and anxiety. If you notice that defenses and/or inhibitory affects are taking the focus, it’s worth being compassionately curious—Make a list of your defenses and inhibitory affects–and play with noticing when they surface.

Ask the defense:

  • “How are you trying to help me right now?”
  • What stories did you learn about emotions when you were younger?
  • What emotions were allowed/not allowed? How did you learn that?
  • What would you tell your younger self about emotions?

We HEAL when we can be with and move through the FEELS.

Feeling and processing emotions become infinitely more comfortable as we gain experience “riding the waves” in spaces that we can experience how tolerable, helpful, and connecting this can be.

– written by Kimberly Grenier, MA, LPCC-S

This information is credited to Dr. Hillary L. McBride, author of “The Wisdom of your Body”