Substantive response required posts MUST be 175 words.
Respond to the following in a minimum of 175 words:
· How were emotions treated in your family of origin? Were they expressed openly and honestly? Were they denied? Held back? Considered a ‘bad’ thing?
· How might your own experience with emotions affect your work with clients who have had similar experiences and different experiences?
Replies to classmates must be substantive responses required and posts MUST be 175 words for each.
Emotions were a taboo subject in my family. Showing emotions seemed like it was a sign of weakness in one instance, and the other like it was disrespectful as if either of us as children had no right to feel that way, and as for adults they would play like they have it all together but all the while their behaviors showed severe emotional instability.
Both of my parents used substances or alcohol to treat their emotions for happiness, sadness, and anger. My mother would physically and verbally over discipline when she was angry, and shortly afterward could be heard ashamedly crying but would never apologize to us kids. I never recall having conversations with either parent as to how I was feeling at any time or about any one event. I can remember my dad poking fun at my brother anytime he showed emotions by calling him a fagot, or sissy ☹! My mother would threaten us and tell us to shut our mouths or she would give us more to cry about when she was disciplining. I recall seeing how my mother would talk super wayward about her mother and her siblings, recalling how awful she was treated by them all in her childhood, but when we would go around them, she acted sweet and pleasant toward them. It wasn’t until she had gotten in her mid-60’s she started lashing out toward her mother and siblings, expressing her feelings in an explosive manner to the point no one believed her or wanted to be around her.
One of the important things that I had to come to terms with of my own experiences with emotions was that there were a lot of flaws in how I was raised to cope with life’s issues, and all individuals are different. Although I had so-called made it out successfully and still became a productive member of society that is not always the case with everyone, and that everyone has the right to their own story of how their experiences affected them. I used to sort of bulldoze through emotions so that I could keep moving forward. As scary and nerve-racking as it has been, I am now learning to be in the moment and tap into whatever it is that I am feeling. I can use words to describe the emotions, as well as look back into my past and recall other times that I have felt a similar way; address how it may have been dealt with dysfunction-ally in the past then explore and adopt new coping practices to deal with the emotion in a more pleasant manner.
Knowing this about my past experiences with suppressing emotions and working with clients with similar situations I would more than likely revert to using the Gestalt’s Empty Chair method as talked about in chapter 8 of our readings, to help clients explore true feelings and emotions with imaginary conversations (Hackney, Bernard, 2017). The Case illustration of the young woman Paula and her feelings about her partner Sue exploring options to leave the state for residency is a prime example of how beneficial using the empty chair method would be (Hackney, Bernard, 2017). Emotions and unexpressed feelings can cause inner turmoil, regret, and extreme confusion but if a client can have a safe place to work through these things it will enhance their interpersonal issues and experiences (Hackney, Bernard, 2017).
· Hackney, H. L., Bernard, J. M. (2017). Professional counseling: A process guide to helping (8th ed.). Pearson Education, Inc.
I know my post is early but I saw this prompt and had to respond! This is one aspect of my childhood that has definitely influenced my life.
In my family, emotions were (in general) considered bad, a nuisance and uncomfortable. When expressing anything that was unpleasant, my siblings and I were just sent to our room. As a toddler, I threw tantrums and took everything out of my closet and drawers; but quickly learned that this only caused me more work. Because of this familial norm, I feel like I grew up with little emotional intelligence. I often did not know what I was feeling or how to express it. My typical pattern was suppression, until I could no longer handle it and would explode. Learning emotional self-awareness and regulation was something I actually worked on quite a bit in my own counseling experience. As a naturally empathetic and sensitive person, this skill has directly played a role in my contentment as an adult.
As mental health professionals, I believe our own experiences and perceptions have the potential to affect how we counsel. I have always had great admiration for those that can be open and honest with their feelings. In my eyes, this takes vulnerability and courage. Nonetheless, because of my personal experiences, I can relate to those that are more reserved with sharing. Because emotional expression is unique to each person, I think we will need to learn to recognize and adapt to our clients different patterns.
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