Afraid of…Emotions?

I have Leigh McCullough’s book, “Treating Affect Phobia” on my bookshelf in my office. I originally purchased this book and studied it during my post-graduate studies, and since then, it has become a vital part of how I practice.

What does “affect phobia” mean? It simply means being afraid of (phobia) your feelings (affect). This impacts all of us to one degree or another: maybe you’ve been taught that you should never be angry (so you avoid feeling anger and it is manifested in another way) or that you should not experience grief, etc, etc.

Psychology Today’s article, “3 Reasons to Let Yourself Feel Your Emotions” can be a helpful primer in getting you thinking about this topic. What emotions are easy for you to experience and express? Which ones are difficult and you would avoid talking about at any cost?

Sometimes avoiding emotions can be helpful and a way of coping, while other times it leads to maladaptive behaviors which in turn impacts jobs, relationships, parenting, etc.

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