Feeling, Thinking, Talking

How emotions, cognition, and language function as checks and balances.

Posted Jun 08, 2018

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“The critical point is that the human being has evolved as a multimechanism system in which each mechanism is at once incomplete but essential to the functioning of the system as a whole.”

 — Silvan Tomkins, 1981 (in Demos, 1995, p. 49)

There is a revolution in our understanding of human development. This revolution has tremendous potential for enhancing development.

This perspective—combining feeling, thinking, and talking—can help us address some of the problems confronting our society today. Also, notably, nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory fit into our exploration of development.

Checks and Balances

In understanding ourselves—that is, how we become who we are—we might do well to look at the three major systems involved in human development—emotions, cognition, and language.

All three of these possess major assets. Interestingly, all have major liabilities. Emotions provide motivation, but they also can be mislabeled, misunderstood, and repressed. Cognition allows for self-reflection and thinking about actions, but it is also plagued by misperceptions and faulty memory. Language leads to symbolization and shareability, but also can create misinterpretations.

Read full article: http://paulcholinger.com/feeling-thinking-talking/

Exploring Feeling: Are We Blind to Feelings?

This is the story of how we still do not see or understand or accurately label feelings. It is the story of how our society focuses on behavior rather than on the feelings which cause the behavior.

It is the story of how feelings motivate behavior, and how we still have not genuinely grasped that. It is about our struggle to understand the working of feelings in our close relationships and in general human interactions.

Read full article: http://paulcholinger.com/exploring-feelings/

The Revolution: Feelings, Language & Knowledge
There is a revolution occurring in infant and child development. Three issues have converged recently to help us understand much better the world of early childhood and how we can help our children get off to a good start in life.

What are these three items? Feelings, language, and what I will call “smarts,” or knowledge.

Feelings — we know much more now about our earliest built-in feelings and how they work.
Language — the onset of language has tremendous impact on both the inner world of the child as well as on the parent-child relationship.
Smarts — young children know so much more than we used to think.

Read full article:: http://paulcholinger.com/the_revolution/

Books of the Month

Nonlinear Psychoanalysis: Notes from Forty Years of Chaos and Complexity Theory
Author: Robert Galatzer-Levy, M.D.
New York: Routledge, 2017

This is an excellent book dealing with aspects of nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory – and their significance for our understanding human development.

Nonlinear "models predict that desirable development may follow many unpredictable routes to satisfactory and often similar outcomes...Small causes can give very large changes; simple causes can yield very complex results" (p. 82, 78, emphasis in original).

One of the most interesting aspects of nonlinear dynamics involves the implications for learning and education: "New learning occurs in the adaptive systems on the edge of chaos, between the twin dangers of stagnation and disorganization" (p. 81).

The Upside of Shame: Therapeutic Interventions Using the Positive Aspects of a “Negative” Emotion
Author: Vernon C. Kelly, Jr., M.D., Mary C. Lamia, Ph.D.
New York: W. W. Norton & Company (February 6, 2018)

This is a marvelous book exploring the positive attributes of what we know of as shame. It has profound implications for understanding our internal world and our interpersonal relationships. It also presents  detailed descriptions and examples of the use of these concepts in psychotherapy with a variety of diagnoses.
The authors suggest that shame has emerged to inform us "that our happiness is at risk...It is potentially a powerful motivator of change for the better...it exists to inform and protect the self" (p. xi, xvi).

The following three books by Dr. Mary Lamia are terrific for any age.

Emotions! Making Sense of Your Feelings
Author: Mary Lamia, Ph.D.
Washington, D.C.: Magination Press, American Psychological Association, 2013

What Motivates Getting Things Done: Procrastination, Emotions, and Success
Author: Mary Lamia, Ph.D.
Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Whitfield, 2017

Understanding Myself: A Kid's Guide to Intense Emotions and Strong Feelings
Author: Mary Lamia, Ph.D.
Washington, D.C.: Magination Press, American Psychological Association, 2010