By Elly Prior | Updated: 3 Sep 2017
I compiled this list of emotions and feelings some years ago for use in my counselling sessions.
I was aware that men in particular (though of course not exclusively) often struggled to articulate their feelings. I thought it could help to give them a list of emotions and feelings. The idea was to help them reconnect with their innate resources and guide them towards identifying specifically what they felt. Yes... men do have feelings too! ;-) But they're more likely to have learnt to shut them off.
Prof. Simon Baron Cohen, in his book “The Essential Difference”, explains it differently. He talks about 'empathising' brains and 'systemising' brains. Men are more likely to have systemising brains while women are more like to have empathising brains.
The 'empathisers' are more in touch with their feelings and so can more easily pinpoint the particular emotions they are experiencing at any time.
This can mean that women are generally more able to identify and talk about their feelings than men. Women also tend to have a better memory for emotionally laden material. On the whole, in my counselling experience I have noticed that men often find it harder to express their feelings.
Of course, I learnt over time that sometimes roles are switched. My list of feelings has been just as useful for working with women as it has for counselling men.
Oh, and by the way... clients couldn't care less about the difference between emotions and feelings! However, the APA Dictionary of Psychology⧉, states that "feelings differ from emotions in being purely mental, whereas emotions are designed to engage with the world".
This list of human emotions is a useful tool in relation to the suggested counselling practice that people should express their feelings to help them to get better.
Counsellors help their clients listen out for, identify and 'sit with' their feelings. I think this is helpful - for some people in some situations, some of the time. But it's not the be all and end all of addressing problems and issues. In fact, the more emotional we are as human beings the less intelligent we become!
Nevertheless, it is helpful of course for clients to name the feeling more precisely, for them to recognise where its really coming from with the aim of increasing their self-awareness.
I've found through experience that very often more is needed to help people move on from where they've become stuck. They may even have done the feelings bit too much already! So, alongside identifying emotions and feelings I use the Human Givens Approach to Therapy.
If you're interested in feelings and emotions, you may also be interested in: Interpreting Body Language.
Below you can see a snapshot of my chart of feelings.
(see: infidelity warning signs)
happy (see:secrets to a happy relationship)
lost down (see:warning signs of depression)
You get: 11 pages with feelings charts listing emotions and feelings with more than double the entries in the table above.
Use this list...
Enhance it with your own or your clients' contributions
I really hope this article is of help to you. :-)
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Thank you so much in anticipation. :-)