Turning up the Volume Around Emotions
By Ligia Orellana LMFT
Many people come into therapy searching for various things, whether it’s answers about
themselves or others. One main theme is facing certain emotions that may have been avoided as
a coping mechanism that is known or unknown to them. Emotions can be scary, especially if
these scary emotions are ones that have been avoided and have been neatly put away somewhere
in one’s unconscious. Therapy then does become a mirror of things one does not want to face. It
explains one of the integral reasons many avoid or procrastinate taking those initial steps to
enroll into Therapy. It’s those scary emotions.
We are living in a new generation where mental health is talked about a lot more often and it has
even become more mainstream with now documentaries involving celebrities coming forward
talking about their mental health diagnoses. They are putting a label to them and normalizing
them. As someone who grew up in the nineties and having parents from the eighties, these are
topics that were rarely talked about in mainstream media. Emotions being scary makes complete
sense since it is something that no one really talked about around how to cope with them or even
why we were feeling certain emotions.
Therapy and coping skills are those tools to help with facing scary emotions. Through integrating
both of these, it allows the therapist to guide a client to turn up the volume slowly on facing
feelings in a safe space. Some coping skills can be different types of breathing and grounding
techniques practiced in session and to later be incorporated between sessions. This is so those
scary emotions become easier to face.