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The Methodology of Dealing with Negative Emotions

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

The motivation for writing this blog series is to support you in dealing with your negative emotions, which means understanding and ultimately healing from them. In the psychological definition, healing means becoming aware and transforming the thoughts that lead to feelings and after which we act.

Emotions are healed through understanding the unconscious thoughts.
The mind is a world of its own.

The distinct methodology of Adlerian psychology

In counseling, I'm working with the principles and theories of Alfred Adler, an Austrian physician and psychiatrist who formed the school of thought known as Individual psychology or Adlerian psychology, referred to as positive psychology. Although Adler was a contemporary and, for some years, a colleague of Sigmund Freund, he split from Freud's psychoanalytic circle and went on to further develop his psychotherapy concepts. Adler strongly influenced other great thinkers such as Albert Ellis, Viktor Frankl, Abraham Maslow, and Maria Montessori.

Many aspects of Adler's theories differ from other psychological schools. The one that is most significant for the distinct purpose of this blog series is that Adlerian psychology understands the human thought process as goal-oriented. The approach is called "final" – (finalis in Latin = relating to the end), whereas other schools consider the thinking to be "causal" – (causa in Latin = derived from).

The "final" and "causal" approach in the context of the feelings I will discuss in this post series can be simplified as follows:

What for does the client feel guilt? (Guilt as an example)

That's the question an Adlerian psychologist is looking to find out.

Why is the client feeling guilty?

Is the question other psychologists are going after.

You may resonate with the second version because, naturally, in our conscious minds, we find reasons for how we feel and interpret those reasons as the cause. The complexity of humans isn't found in the conscious mind, though; it's in the impactful and hidden subconscious thinking strategy that often has inadequate reasoning.

In Adlerian psychology, we say: "If you want to know what you want, then look at what you do and what the final outcome is."

The wanting is subconscious, of course. In this blog series, I will give insight into "what the final outcome" could look like by giving some examples.

Knowing vs. understanding our negative emotions

There are emotions we are better off without, but because we get used to them, we might not even question their harmfulness. On the page List of Negative Emotions, you will get help identifying which emotions harm you that you can overcome.

For healing from them in counseling, our work is to help the client understand what for and not why they feel what they feel. This is a very goal-oriented and progressive method applied when counseling individuals, in couples counseling / marriage counseling, in marriage and family therapy, or in parenting counseling.

Knowing why we feel negative emotions

"I know I get angry very easily", or "I know I worry a lot," is what one would say, while not understanding that how they feel has a subconscious purpose.

Someone knowing they have difficulty making a decision may relate that to a fear of failure.

An easily frustrated person may think it's related to a lack of patience.

Or someone who worries thinks it's because of past events or the new responsibility load, such as being a parent. These reasons are the conscious ones.

Controlling The Subconscious Mind

The subconscious mind is a world of its own that must be understood to control it. 95% of our thoughts are on auto-pilot, and understanding what for we repeat experiences is deliberating. It's empowering to know this self-created concept can be redirected or transformed at any age. Therapy enables a new understanding of one's responsibility for happiness and a more profound sense of Self, others, and life. It's the beginning step of improving one's life experiences.

In answering the "What For"-question lies the progressiveness of the Adlerian approach. The "Why"-answer helps the client comprehend where their challenges originate from. But knowing the "what for" reasons is much more powerful, practical, and transformational. The other benefit of the Adlerian approach is that clients learn so much about themselves and how to use the methodology in the future, which prevents them from being in therapy for years.

The first post explaining the "what for" concept is how to deal with guilt and heal. Guilt is a very complex emotion, and the subject for an interesting post. I hope you'll enjoy it.

Kind regards



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