Articles

» How to Work With 'Carried Feelings'

coast-1030842_1280In this blog, I share with you different ways to work with Carried Feelings.

Sometimes as therapists, working with past trauma and shame can be a heavy, but lifting process.

In working with carried feelings, you can have the person literally in their minds’ eye, scoop up the shame out of their body and hand it, throw it, or transmit it somehow back to the person or perpetrator who made the feel shameful in the first place.

Ultimately that person might be very rejecting, even sticking out their tongue, or they might be making fun of them in a real nasty way in your clients mind. Then you, as the therapist, comes in and reads the “riot act.” You sit there and act like a father or a grandfather, and you take this in (and mind you it can be heave at times).

Sometimes you have other group members come and stand by the empty chair in which the perpetrator sits and hold them to it. It’s a pretty assertive process. You don’t let the person be abusive to the perpetrator, but man it can get intense. It can be really, really angry. It can be reactivating, particularly with sexual shame, people can get nauseous. I’ve seen Belinda and when … somebody gets nauseous, she even brings in the wastebasket and places it between their knees and says, “Well, if you need to throw up, throw up. Let’s keep going.”

By the end of the session, you have given back all of the carried feelings that you took on to the person who threw their shameless behavior, and had transmitted their feelings to you.

Shame will be something which you can almost universally count on being transmitted.

The person is behaving shamelessly and their inner child takes on that shame. Then there will be other feelings…. I took on your anger…. I took on your fear…. I took on your sadness…. I have my own sadness, and I hold the part of sadness that is mine…. I give you back the sadness that is yours. I will not carry your sadness for you any longer. I have carried it for most of my life…. I’ve been depressed most of my life, I will not carry this sadness for you anymore!!!

This is a depiction and how it goes: the perpetrator is then asked to leave. Their inner child is brought back into the body. The person then proceeds to open their eyes to be able to receive feedback in their group setting from other members. If this type of dialogue happens in a couple sessions, you turn to the partner and say how was this for you?

In 99 out of 100 times you’ll get an empathic response. Often the partner is crying – along with the client that you’re working with.

That’s what carried feelings feels like.

-Terry

Comments

comments