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COGNITIVE

BEHAVIOURAL
THERAPY

PRACTITIONER
CERTIFICATION

UNDERSTANDING
OUR EMOTIONS 
UNDERSTANDING OUR EMOTIONS

Emotional Intelligence is the measure of our ability to recognise and manage our
emotions, and the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is something that we
can develop and improve by learning and practising new skills.

The Selwyn Hughes Anthropology Model helps us to understand the different


categories of emotions and also the natural order in which they occur. As CBT
Practitioners, as we become better at recognising where someone is (emotionally), we
can then start helping them to back track through their emotions.

Take some time to work through the following exercises which have been designed to
help you explore and better understand different emotional states:

UNDERSTANDING ANGER/RAGE

Anger is an extremely powerful emotion which creates an energy that can be used
constructively or deconstructively. Anger has many different forms, which emerge in
our minds and then get communicated to others through the way we behave.

1) Irritation - we often get irritated when daily events don't happen as quickly as we
would like, for example, your train is delayed, you have to wait in a long queue, etc.

2) Frustration - we often feel frustrated when our expectations or desires are not met.
This might be in relation to events or other people.

3) Grudge - we often hold a grudge when we feel as though someone in the past has
wronged us.

4) Resentment - we often feel resentful of someone who has insulted or offended us


in some way or someone who we are jealous of.

5) Hatred - hatred is a very strong emotion which comes about through deep
disapproval of some else's actions.

6) Rage - this normally results through built up anger, usually in response to


something someone has done to offend us which we consider obstructive or
offensive.
UNDERSTANDING OUR EMOTIONS

EXERCISE 1

Recall a recent time when you felt angry and think about how you expressed this
emotion.

1) Who was the anger targeted towards?

2) What thoughts were going through your mind at the time? Consider the ABC
framework.

3) What goal was being blocked (desired state)?

4) What unmet need was longing to be met, for example, connection, significance,
security?

5) How would you like to make changes in the way you express anger?

6) Consider creative and constructive ways that you can manage and express your
anger more appropriately...

7) What changes must occur in your thinking (self-talk) to adopt a more constructive
approach to anger?

8) What healthy goal can you pursue that relates to anger?


UNDERSTANDING OUR EMOTIONS

Anger and frustration are generally the first emotions that we experience when
something gets in the way of us making progress towards our goals. However, anger
is generally quite a sporadic, short lived emotion. Typically, anxiety and fear will then
follow once we've had time to consider the long term implications of what we were
initially angry about.

UNDERSTANDING FEAR/ANXIETY

Fear is one of the most powerful emotions. It has a very strong effect on our minds
and bodies. Fear creates strong signals of response when we’re in emergencies – for
example, if we're being attacked.

However, it can also be present when we're faced with non-dangerous events, for
example, exams, a new job, a first date, etc...Fear is a natural response to a threat that
can be either perceived or real.

We use the term 'Anxiety' for certain types of fear that are usually related to some
kind of threat or apprehension of something going wrong in the future (as supposed to
right now).

High levels of anxiety can lead to the avoidance of important tasks, events, and life
experiences, in addition to unpleasant physical or emotional symptoms.

EXERCISE 2

What are three things that trigger anxiety in your life?

1)
2)
3)

What are three physical symptoms that you experience when you feel anxious?

1)
2)
3)
UNDERSTANDING OUR EMOTIONS

What are three thoughts you tend to have when you feel anxious?

1)
2)
3)

What are three things you do to cope when you feel anxious?

1)
2)
3)

When we fail at something, don't get the things that we want, or don't know how to get
the things that we want, we will then typically move from a place of fear/anxiety into a
place of guilt and shame. 

UNDERSTANDING GUILT/SHAME

Although many people use the words 'guilt' and 'shame' interchangeably, they actually
refer to two different experiences. The same action can cause feelings of both shame
and guilt to arise, where 'guilt' reflects how we feel about ourselves, and 'shame'
involves an awareness that the actions we've taken have hurt someone else.

Guilt is the uncomfortable feeling we experience when we have done something


wrong. It involves a violation of standards - when we feel we've fallen short of a
desired standard.

Guilt can be positive and sometimes even necessary. It can be a motivator towards
positive change – if we do something 'wrong' and feel guilty about it, these feelings
can motivate us to change our behaviours, so that we don’t make the same mistake
again.

When we consider guilt as a violation of standards, it's important to take into account
the following:

- Whose standards were violated?


- Where did these standards come from? (Our family, our beliefs, our experience,
society, media, politics, etc.).
UNDERSTANDING OUR EMOTIONS

EXERCISE 2

Take some time to consider the questions listed below which will help you to explore
the emotions of guilt and shame within your own life:

1) When was the last time that you felt guilt (resulting from something you felt you had
done wrong)?

2) When was the last time that you let someone else down? How do you feel about
this now?

3) When was the last time you felt shame (resulting from feeling as though you had
hurt someone)?

4) Do you ever feel like a 'bad' spouse, parent, or child?

5) In what ways have you used guilt with other people to try to get what you need?

6) How have other people used 'guilt trips’ to manipulate you?

7) What's the worst thing that you've ever done that you can still remember?
UNDERSTANDING OUR EMOTIONS

8) In what ways do you feel guilt or shame when it comes to your family?

9) Who is it that you would you most want forgiveness from today? And why?

10) Do you ever feel guilty when you are not supposed to, i.e. in relation to something
that in reality you were not responsible for?

UNDERSTANDING NEUROTIC STATES - DEPRESSION

The final stage on the emotional journey is where individuals reach a neurotic state -
and typically this is where they have stopped moving forward towards their goals in
life and have reached a place of hopelessness and despair.

Neuroticism is a term used to describe individuals who have a tendency to be in a


long-term negative emotional state. Such individuals frequently have depressed
moods, experience feelings of guilt, envy, anger, and anxiety.

People in this state don't respond well to environmental stress. They may perceive
everyday situations as menacing and major; small frustrations have a tendency to turn
into huge problems.

There are certain signs that will indicate if a person is in a neurotic state. These include:

- lack of interest in things they once found enjoyable


- difficulty sleeping (difficulty getting to sleep or waking in the night)
- changes in their eating habits (with resulting weight gain/loss)
- anger and irritability
- general negative outlook on life
- suicidal ideas/thoughts
- loss of confidence in themselves and the future
UNDERSTANDING OUR EMOTIONS

Why not take a few moments to reflect on the different emotional states and the
natural order of our emotions. Make a note of any key learnings in the space
provided below.

NOTES: