Emotional Schema Therapy for Difficult Emotions
In this workshop we will review the Emotional Schema Model that is both a model of emotional intelligence and emotion regulation. According to the model, once an emotion arises people assess if the emotion will last a long time, go out of control, is something that makes sense, can be accepted, needs to be eliminated, is similar to the emotions that others have, can be expressed and can be validated. These interpretations and evaluations result in helpful or unhelpful emotion regulation strategies such as attempts to avoid the emotion, hide it from others, blame the self or blame others, ruminate about the emotion, or utilize self-defeating behaviors. We will review the major dimensions of emotion evaluation in self and others and how the client’ beliefs and strategies can be modified. The goal in this model is not the elimination of unpleasant emotions but rather the ability to tolerate emotions and use them to pursue valued goals in life. Concepts such as Emotional Perfectionism, Existential Perfectionism, Pure Mind, Constructive Discomfort, Successful Perfectionism, and Incorporation and Containment will be described. Metaphors of inclusion such as viewing emotions as clouds, “the living stream”, the emotional landscape, the relationship room, and emotional symphonies can assist in accepting the inevitable experiences of difficult emotions that are part of a complete life. Finally, beliefs about the emotions of others—especially intimate partners—will be reviewed and unhelpful strategies of responding to the emotions of others will be identified along with more realistic and compassionate strategies that allow one not only to live with the difficult emotions of others but to use these difficulties to deepen the relationship and build trust.