Updated: Nov 10, 2020
The ultimate goal of emotional processing is to awaken to complete self-acceptance. When you can witness and accept all of your emotions, you will feel complete as you are and loved from within. When you are self-loving, your relationships can then be approached as a vehicle through which your self-love can be expressed instead of a place to seek or "get" love from another.
The aim of integrative emotional processing is to reclaim, accept and include what was previously apart from your conscious (everyday) awareness. Processing is a psychological term that refers to accepting and staying with an emotional process as it arises, allowing it to unfold by itself in the here-and-now until it is fully experienced, absorbed or dissolved.
Emotions need to move - they need to stay in motion, so they can transform. Processing old, stuck emotions consists of four steps (as I apply them) according to John Ruskin, author of "Emotional Clearing."
1. Awareness: Something is arising in the here-and-now is triggering unhealed emotional pain from the past. Awareness of this strong emotional charge, and recognizing that a current life circumstance is triggering suppressed emotional energy is the healing task at this stage.
2. Acceptance: Resistance to your painful emotions creates most of your suffering. Negative emotions might have a certain amount of inherent pain, but you likely will amplify, exaggerate and prolong your emotional pain through resistance. Learning how to accept every aspect of your emotional experience helps to minimize the pain at this stage.
3. Direct Experiencing: After you learn how to accept your emotions, you must still must digest them through directly experiencing them - by feeling them fully. At this stage, you can digest your emotions by staying present in your body until the energy of the emotional charge has dissolved.
4. Transformation: When you strongly "presence" to your painful emotions, part of your consciousness must be activated in the form of the "witness." You can develop the capacity to feel your emotions and witness them at the same time. To activate the witness it is helpful to say, "Something in me is feeling upset" rather than say, "I am feeling upset."
When your internal witness is activated, internal catharsis ensues in its own spontaneous way. When the emotion unblocks, flow is spontaneously restored. After a deep period of emotional processing, fresh insights about how to better live your life will arise.
A Loving Note:
The above method of emotional processing is simple but not always easy. If you are finding it challenging staying with a difficult emotion, I invite you to book a session so that we can hold space for it together.
With much care,