Whether you’ve been in therapy before or just seen it on a show or movie, the therapist is apt to say at some point “and how does that make you feel?” Sometimes folx respond “How do you think it makes me feel?”, or “WTF does it matter how I feel, how could he do that to me?” As much as the original question may make you want to roll your eyes, identifying feelings are super important in resolving one’s experience of distress.
Situations provoke us to have certain thoughts provoked by similar past events and experiences bubble up. Those thoughts spur emotions (aka feelings). Our behavior is thus “inspired,” so to speak, by the feelings. Typically, when we are experiencing distress around a situation, the distress is not necessarily about the current situation itself. The distress is most often about our feelings born from thoughts about previous or similar past situations that likely didn’t go so well. Therefore, identifying feelings is imperative to dismantling and therefore easing the distress.
If you find yourself reacting to certain situations which result in feelings of distress, therapy can be a wonderful way to flush out exactly what’s going on. One way therapy works is by interrupting the cycle of Thoughts -> Feelings -> Behavior to look at the situation differently through clinical techniques such as identifying cognitive distortions, behavior modification, exposure therapy, relaxation, reframing, mindfulness, somatic work, and more.
I’d love to help you interrupt the cycles causing you distress. Reach out and let’s talk for a bit, at no cost to you, about working together. Are you ready to live with more ease?