What is it
Everyone experiences emotional problems at times, and how we understand, regulate and communicate emotions can affect how we are able to participate in everyday life. This is often referred to as “ emotional literacy ”, and these skills develop over the lifespan.
For example, anger is a common and ‘normal’ emotion, but if our way of expressing anger is to punch someone, then this can put ourselves and others in danger. Some level of caution or anxiety is an evolutionary way for us to be aware of potential threats. But if we are looking for threats everywhere and are scared of everything, then how can we concentrate at school or work or interact successfully with others?
What does it include
How these emotional problems develop is diverse. It may be the result of experiencing a trauma, having never learnt these skills, or the result of neurological deficits or damage. Some individuals may meet criteria for Mood Disorders such as anxiety or depression.
How can a psychologist help
An individual should seek assistance for these emotional problems if they are impacting on their ability to participate in everyday life. In children, emotional difficulties are often manifested through behavioural, learning or attention difficulties as they may not have the language to express, or the cognitive ability to understand how they are feeling. Adolescents or adults may engage in risky or harmful behaviours such as self harm or substance abuse, have social or relationship difficulties, or have difficulties engaging in work or learning.
Increasing emotional literacy and learning skills to regulate and express emotion can be addressed in therapy in a number of ways, depending on the individual and their emotional problems, and the therapist. In young children play and creative therapies (such as art therapy) may be used. Children from approximately seven years of age can begin to participate in more cognitive based therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. There are a number of therapeutic approaches for adolescents and adults, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. In some cases medications may also be prescribed by a doctor to accompany therapy sessions.
Rothschild, Babette (2003). The Body Remembers Casebook. London: WW Norton and Co.
Zayfert, B and Becker, CB (2007). Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for PTSD: A Case Formulation Ap
If you require additional information, please call our office on 07 3256 6320. Our mental health focused reception staff will be only too happy to assist you with your enquiry about our service and can suggest the most suitable Psychologist for your concern.