Friday, June 1, 2012

Emotions have a Life-span

Fritz Perls
Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt therapy, said, "Emotions have a life-span that includes a birth and a death, a beginning and an ending."

We each carry within us all the unfinished emotions from all the traumas we have ever had. We may no longer be mentally conscious of these submerged, unfinished emotions, but they are still inside, playing a silent part in our day-to-day reactions to life.  What we present to the world, and those around us, is the accumulation of these unfinished aches and pains that subtly or not so subtly, direct our actions and reactions to today's events…

The residue of painful emotions from incidents in the past congregate into a tangled mass of emotional pain held deep in the body, lying there in wait to re-activate at the nearest sign of an emotionally charged event that feels similar. Each new painful event instantly connects with the bundle of pain inside and starts the reactivation. Since the pain being evoked is usually considered by society (and usually by ourselves) to be harmful, we try to suppress it mentally all the while our bodies are reacting to pain as they always do, by contracting, so the contraction continues to trap the pain inside.

Painful emotions provoke an involuntary bodily response [known as] ACPR, or Auto Contractile Pain Reflex, which squeezes the organs and glands in the bodily region where the emotion is being experienced.  

SHEN Therapists use the chi from between their hands to relax tissue, releasing the contractions to allow the emotion to lift and finally dissolve.

More information here: How SHEN works

And here: Emotions, Pain and Your Body

Note:  Text above partially excerpted from the chapter The Dynamics of Emotion, in the   Notebook given to students taking the SHEN Therapy Personal Empowerment Workshops.
Copyright Richard Pavek, SHEN Therapy Institute.