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Chapter 14

Emotion Chapter 14

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Gerald Cupchik

Chapter 14 – Psychotherapy, consciousness, and well-being Psychological therapies and the emotions • Emotions can be vague and unformed, with meanings that only become clear as we express them to others • It is as if, in the religions, literatures, and psychotherapeutic practices of the world, human consciousness has struggled to find a right relation with the emotions • Mindfulness meditation has been found to have effects on the brain similar to those of positive emotions, shifting activation to the left hemisphere  has been a form of psychological therapy • “at the core of each of us is a little piece of divine substance, the soul, that has been detached from God, and contained inside a human body. Our task on earth is to see through the veils of bodily existence, and undertake a spiritual journey… Emotions are part of the obscuring veil, first to be recognized and owned, then transcended The basic idea of psychoanalytic therapy • Freud’s first form of psychotherapy focused on emotionally traumatic events in a patient’s earlier life o Aimed at recalling the trauma, enabling it to become conscious, allowing the emotions associated with it to be experienced and expressed, thus freeing the patient from the trauma’s continuing harmful effects • Neurotic people suffer from inner conflict • Detractors argued that psychoanalysis was less a therapeutic procedure Therapy’s focus on the emotions • Many different kinds of psychotherapy and many clinical psychologists and psychiatrists would describe themselves as eclectic, meaning they incorporate selected aspects from different variants into their practice • Most therapies involve a close relationship with a therapist, talk, and suggestion • Therapy: an interaction with another person in which, as a patient or client, one can discover some of the properties of one’s emotion schemas – most typically schemas of anxiety, anger, and despair – and can to some extent change how these schemas operate Psychoanalysis: unconscious schemas of relating • The distinctive feature of psychoanalytic therapy is the recognition of transference of client to the therapist • Transference: pattern of a person’s behaviour, relating, emotional responses, and beliefs, directed toward a therapist or other person, based on an earlier relationship, such as that with a parent • when positive transference from the perceived was received, the target was happier than when negative transference was received • the idea of psychoanalytic therapy is that our relationships are so fundamental to every aspect of life, including our mental health, that if they are based on figures from the past rather than on real people in the present, there will at best be misunderstanding, and at worst intractable problems Cognitive-behavioural therapy: changing emotions by thought • the idea that we can change our emotions by thinking about them in the right way can be traced back to the Epicureans and Stoics, two schools of ethical philosophy in which emotions were understood as evaluations of events in relation to desires or goals • the Epicureans developed ideas of natural human sociality that influenced both the American and French Revolutions  the idea that humans have the right to the pursuit of happiness and the idea of living naturally, in harmony with an environment in which we are stewards • epicureans were the first of the west to discover the unconscious • the Stoics were more radical  thought that because emotions derive from desires, therefore to free oneself from crippling and destructive emotions, one should extirpate almost all desires • Both focused on emotions as the chief sources of the soul’s diseases • Beck developed cognitive-behavioural therapy  teaching people how to recognize and avoid errors of evaluation about the incidents that lead to emotions • Beck argued that the patterns of appraisal that cause anxiety and depression tend to involve contextual evaluations that are arbitrary, absolute, and personalizing Emotion-focused therapy: changing emotions by emotions • Emotion focused therapy (EFT) goal is to change an emotion by means of another emotion • One of the tasks of EFT is to work on emotional clues to build some consciously comprehended model of our goal structure as part of our sense of self • Part of the task of therapy is to recognize emotions that we have not allowed ourselves to experience fully enough  primary emotions • Clients tend to experience some emotions too much  secondary emotions or defenses • Secondary emotions derive from certain primary emotions that were unacceptable • Goal is to encourage clients to understand that secondary emotions conceal something more authentic • Instrumental emotions: emotions that p
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