Did you know that it’s possible to put emotions on ice?
When an event triggers our ‘fight or flight’ response and we do not have the tools or ability to do either, we freeze. The emotions we experienced, which we didn’t know how to process at the time, become frozen in our energetic body.
We won’t feel these emotions consciously in our day-to-day lives.
They are quite literally preserved and immobilised. In the same way that your frozen peas stay as fresh as the day they left the pod, these emotions remain in their original state, unable to change in form.
You may be asking yourself why this is a problem – if we can’t feel them, surely everything is fine? But until these emotions are cleared, they create a block preventing the natural free flow of energy through our bodies and our lives.
To experience life, love and joy in their fullness, we must thaw these frozen emotions – this is what therapy is all about.
We must explore these blocks and see what happens when we start to release them. Once we begin to thaw our emotions, things start to flow again.
But it is vital that we don’t release a torrent before we’re ready. Rather we can explore the ebbs and flows. Where something springs up, what is there to learn? Where the water has begun to stagnate, how we can get it moving again? Where there’s a rip tide that keeps pulling you under, how can we flow with it gently to safety? But this has to be a gradual and safe process. Concerningly, it seems this gradual approach is not always taken.
Some coaches and therapists regularly use ‘flooding therapy’ as a technique to ‘help’ address fears.
Flooding therapy involves direct and abrupt exposure of the patient to fear-inducing stimuli. At the same time, relaxation techniques are employed to reduce the anxiety this inevitably triggers as frozen emotions are suddenly put on ‘speed defrost’.
In my opinion, any kind of ‘therapist’ directly bringing about a flooding of fear-inducing stimulus contradicts the process of healing and unconditional positive regard.
Lowering anxiety at the same time as being absolutely petrified – is this even possible?
Flooding ‘therapy’ makes as much sense to me as being faced with a ferocious lion on the verge of attack and being told to offer it a brew and a Kit Kat before the school run. Is this really the approach we seek for healing?
Of course, getting in touch with and processing fear, especially deep-rooted childhood fears or trauma-related experiences, is undoubtedly therapeutic. Our fears root into our relationship patterns with family, friends, lovers. Even our relationship to our belongings, spending habits, eating patterns and every decision we make.
It is imperative to work through fears and get to the other side.
It is much like a ‘bear hunt’: you can’t go over it, you can’t go under it – you have to go through it… But flooding in this way seems frankly petrifying, and not what I would hope for anyone looking to heal themselves or explore their identity and lifestyle. Even more so when working with a therapist or coach without specialist training or experience of what happens if/when you begin to ‘drown’ in emotions that may have previously been iced.
Research, clinical experience and being human reliably inform me that there is no space for lower levels of anxiety during a fear response; in a flood you are unsafe, frightened, and not capable of being open to alternative ways of thinking or feeling. Flooding therapy quite frankly scares me as much as the thought of having a cuppa with a lion!
While stirring up emotions is inevitably hard, it doesn’t have to be terrifying.
And in fact, processing stagnated emotions – in a safe therapeutic environment – is the key to clearing the way for all the good stuff to flow to us and through us.
My journey to becoming a registered Psychotherapist with the United Kingdom for Counselling & Psychotherapy, and a Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, was an epic voyage. It involved LOTS of post grad study, intensive training, and many humbling experiences. Getting here has been an incredible, rewarding, and gruelling adventure.
It is from this place I offer a secure therapeutic space for an in-depth exploration of your fears and a controlled thawing of long-forgotten emotions.
I specialise in diving deep with my clients, right into the murky waters of their deepest fears.
Some are in crisis, others are stuck and jaded, looking to find joy again. Some simply have a nagging feeling there is something missing and want to get the best out of their life.
Wherever you’re at when we meet, you can rest assured I will never take you out of your depth before you are ready. I have taken my clients through this process time after time, and I tailor my approach entirely to your needs.
I know when it’s safe to explore the depths, and when to stem the flow. And I have seen the transformation that is always possible, no matter how deep the dive or how winding the water course. So, if you are feeling ready to explore the next stage in your healing, let’s talk.