October 2009 Archives

Emotions: Feeling your Feelings

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Pros and Cons by Kieran Meehan

I have been a follower of Kieran Meehan's strip, Pros and Cons, for about a year now.  If you are not familiar with it, the central characters include a psychiatrist, a cop, and a prosecuting attorney.   The feature I most often see and like about the strip is the way he is able to skewer some widely held and unwise notions.  These are cognitive distortions which are so common they become hard to recognize. 

In the case of this offering, the clueless client is so attached to the notion that emotions can be turned on and off that he hears his therapist's intervention as a response to his analogy, not to the notion itself.  We can turn off awareness of our emotions but to do so takes a large investment of energy.  Such a choice also results in us being disconnected from our experience. 

While Meehan makes the choice look foolish, the truth is we all from time to time decide not to feel our feelings.  We decide to turn off our emotions to get through a difficult situation.  We can do this, for a while, at great cost.