In our PSEN work, we understand that emotion is energy-in-motion. It can bring forth a sense of raw aliveness in our interior worlds. Our emotions can infuse our inner life with a felt sense of meaning, disturbance, chaos, depth, pain and pleasure.
Healthy emotions flow in and out of our lived experience, while more troubling emotions can overtake us, and we can recycle through the same feelings again and again until we can come to resolution with what we are feeling.
Conversely, we can resist our emotions, and use our bodily constrictions to hold back or shut down our emotional flow.
During our PSEN Training week, we make the time and space to understand the psychological underpinnings and motivations that fuel emotional states of being, as well as examine that healthy function that various emotional states can perform.
Our fears can protect us, our grief can soften us, our anger can mobilize us, our excitement can enliven us, our disappointment can ground us, our interest can engage us with the world.
We also explore the ways we can be reactive or shut down to our emotions, and develop a compassionate understanding for these defensive maneuvers. Through our Anatomy of Emotion segments, our trainees can grow their own ability to be present to their own emotional states of being, as well as those of their clientele.
Our trainees also begin to develop a sense of mastery over how to best respond to individual who are caught up or shut down to various emotional experiences.
Our practitioners learn how to withstand another’s anger or hostilities without feeling subjected to them. They can mobilize themselves on behalf of the other’s frozenness or constrictions when in fear. They can tolerate the depth of another’s sorrow without needing to fix them or have them come out of their experience prematurely.
At times, our practitioners allow themselves to become emotional amplifiers for someone who is shut down to what they feel. At other times, they can be grounding and stabilizing presences for someone who is flooded with feeling. At yet another time, they may be someone who can reach beyond what someone is feeling, holding a space for hope, while allowing the client to be without hope for the moment.
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Over the course of four years of training, our trainees have the opportunity to immerse themselves in an in-depth exploration of the various emotions that make our lived experience distinctly and undeniably human.
Rooted by the classic and groundbreaking work on human affect by Sylvan Tomkins, and influenced by a large body of work from various other worthy researchers and clinicians, we will explore the dynamic aliveness with the following emotions: