How you feel is important

Therapy traditionally has been thought of as a process of “talk therapy.” Talking is obviously an important part of counseling. However, it needs to go deeper than thinking to be effective. Often people say, “I know I shouldn’t do this, but I do it anyway.” Or, “How can I stop doing what I want to stop doing but keep doing?”

Some of our problems are emotionally based

The answer is that some of our problems are emotionally based, not just logically based. When a therapy patient says something bothers them, the therapist might say, “How do you feel about that?” One of the reasons for this stereotypical therapist question is that how we feel is really important. Sometimes we use the thinking parts of our brains to say, “Don’t feeling that way.” But what I have found helpful in therapy is to actually go into the feelings, whether they are functional or dysfunctional, from the point of view of the thinking mind.

Ask the thinking part of your brain to take a step back

In talk therapy it is often very effective to ask the thinking part of the brain to step back and take a less active, and more observing role, while the client and the therapist engage in exploring why the person does what they do and how they feel about their lives and their choices.

Trust yourself to listen to how your feel

I encourage you to trust yourself to engage in your feelings. In the end we make our decisions based on how we feel, not on what we think. It is our feelings that teach us about ourself, how we feel about ourselves, and about our lives and circumstances, whether they be good or bad, ugly or in-between.

Feelings can change when they are listened to

You feel how you feel, and you are entitled to your feelings, regardless of what you decide to do or not do. Listening to our feelings is the fastest way to learn about ourselves and who we are. Listening to our feelings, and accepting our feelings also, interestingly, allows our feelings to change, in a desired direction.