All tagged Emotions

The Many Ways People Avoid Emotions

Consider the following:

A client whom I’ve been seeing for 1 year sits across me speaking eloquently and rather placidly about what he had been doing In the time between the last and current sessions. It was a report on the little triumphs because he had been crippled by strong anxiety and depression 1 year ago. Truthfully, the monotonous recitation of things he has done was hypnotising and I felt a mixture of irritation - after all, I’ve heard the same spiel many times now; boredom and a curious sense of not wanting to be there in session with him. There was simply no emotions whatsoever in the room between us.

On Hedgehogs and Prickly Emotions

I like hedgehogs, but they can be prickly creatures to handle. Heaps better than a porcupine but still hard to hold in your hands.

I feel that the hedgehog is a good mascot for some of our pricklier emotions. Anxiety, anger, "over-sensitivity", resentment, jealousy, rage, shame, guilt and so on.

The ones that are hard to handle and feel very uncomfortable in our bodies.

The ones we sometimes feel scared to be having.

And yet, like the gentle and timid hedgehog, these fearsome emotions of ours often have a soft-underbelly. Granted that it's hard to get to this underbelly of the hedgehog (and our emotions too), it's still important to recognize that there are deeper and softer and more vulnerable aspects of our fearsome emotions.


Dr Jane Goodall, the primatologist sat in the forest occasionally writing into her small notebook.  She would look up from her writing and peer through her binoculars at the scene that unfolded in front of her eyes.  Without a rifle to protect her against the great chimpanzees, she was a risk of being harmed, but nonetheless she sat quietly and observed them as they went about their business.

She was at that time an untrained person, with scarcely any footing in the scientific community and yet she had been sent to observe the animals that would bring her and National Geographic great acclaim.  It was through her willingness to be present and to immerse herself into the communities of the great apes; it was through her quiet observation and trying not to interfere with the machinations of what unfolded before her eyes that she came to understand the Chimpanzees like no one did before her.