Dr. Michelle Emmerling

Registered Psychologist. Red Tree Psychology Founding Partner. Emotion Focused Skills Training Clinician and Trainer. Powered by Emotion Associate.

Operating as usual

This seems like such an important focus for the start of 2021 - take everything day by day and try and stay present. It’s so easy right now to let ourselves worry, seek comfort in plans and being prepared, and then to be hard on ourselves when things don’t go to plan or we are “failing”. If anything this past year has taught us is to slow down, take things in stride, and that we really never do know what’s coming next. And it’s okay to feel some anxiety with that thought. Hold the compassion for what is and how hard it can be. Some days will be harder than others. And do this while also holding yourself accountable; because compassion without any ownership for where we are not living up to our own standards can become a dangerous slippery slope. Understanding and empathy with boundary. This is the key to staying on the right path and inner peace. #yegpsychologist #yegmentalhealth #edmonton #psychology #yegbusinesswoman #livethelittlethings #compassionwithboundaries #edmontonalberta #edmontonmentalhealth #edmontonpsychologist #slowingdown #followyourpath

I often get asked what is healing or recovery and when will I know I’ve reached it?

The healing journey is different for everyone. And it takes a lot of courage and more importantly - a ton of patience and love. It can be a frustrating process of moving forward and then going back to our unhealthy behaviors and then finding a way back again. And repeat. Over and over again. The key is looking for the moments of difference that might seem small, but when we trust the process and are not hijacked by our own sense of defeat, we see and feel the shifts moving us toward the healing path. It’s when we acknowledge these shifts and celebrate each small victory we begin to move closer and closer to the end point we seek. And what that looks like in the end is different for each of us.

For me, recovery is knowing that I still might get triggered sometimes and it’s having the awareness to catch myself potentially heading in unhealthy ways and to redirect myself to healthy coping with love and compassion.

Be patient. The end point you seek can become a reality.

“The fortress we build for ourselves as a child becomes the jail cell that imprisons our adult self” - Joanne Dolhanty

Let that really sink in... as children when we don’t get our physical or emotional needs met we find ways to get those needs met and often not in healthy or adaptive ways. This leads to a stuck feeling and often development of mental or physical health concerns that we get l it really “locked into”. With awareness we can break free and find new adaptive ways to cope. This takes courage and patience but the pay off is huge. Photo credit @life_in_focus_82

The Courage to FEEL is the Courage to HEAL

As Joanne Dolhanty my mentor, friend, and the developer of Emotion Focused Skills Training has taught me: “The only thing worse than feeling a painful feeling is NOT feeling it - because feeling buried alive NEVER die”.

We must attune to our emotions in order for change to occur. Just like we have trained ourselves to smell smoke and trust our instinct that it means something is burning and to respond accordingly; we need to do the same with our emotions. That is the way out of the suffering. We can’t ignore it. There is light on the other side of our shame, grief, and pain but the only way is through.

So take some time this weekend to reflect on what you might be ignoring or avoiding in your emotional world - the answer to the change you seek is in attuning to those emotions and moving through them.
Photography by @life_in_focus_82
#edmontonpsychologist #mentalhealth #poweredbyemotion #emotionfocusedskillstraining #edmonton #psychology #couragetoheal #mentalhealtheducation #mentalhealthedmonton

Anyone else out there agree?? And yet we are all guilty of saying this to people in our lives at some point. And it’s meant to be well intentioned and to help the other regulate their feelings. But does it help??? No it tends to make things worse as the person feels: 1. You don’t care about how they are actually feeling in the moment and 2. That you are trying to fix something 3. If they could calm down they would love to do that also but they don’t feel capable of it in the moment.

So why do we keep saying things like this?
Because even though we know it’s not a logical or helpful thing to say - we are often in a place of our own emotional hijack which tends to be a feeling of helplessness and we want to try to stop both our feeling and the feeling in the other. We want to help them regulate and soothe but instead we end up invalidating their experience.

So what can we do different???

Meet the other where they are at. Validate where they actually are instead of trying to make it stop. When someone feels heard and understood in their experience they will start to come down from their place of their own emotional hijack and both of you win. You feel like you were able to help them cope and they feel much calmer in being heard and understood.

Emotions - powerful, adaptive, and our most basic information about our current situation and our needs and yet so many of us have developed negative relationships with them leading us to numb out and avoid our emotional world.

So many of us have been taught that emotion is unsafe, illogical, and pointless because we have reached out in the past and not had our emotions acknowledged as real/valid leading them to be dismissed by ourselves and others. When our emotional needs are not met by others, we do not learn how to validate them ourselves or how to meet our own needs. We learn to avoid them as a way to cope; leading to all sort of physical and mental health concerns like addictions, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, etc.

We often fear that if we give space to our emotions that much like a river, we will fall into them and be swept away - consumed by the intensity. But like the canyon walls - with the right support and awareness we can contain that fear and learn to enter into our emotional world in a way that helps us to feel more like we are having an emotion, instead of feeling like our emotion is having us.

Listen closely... emotions are our greatest source of information for ourselves and for others. And they matter. In every way. And when we numb the negative emotions - we also numb the positive. So see if you can slow down today and just notice what sensations you have inside and what comes to you as you try and tune a bit more into your emotional world before you avoid or numb - there’s a wealth of knowledge there to be discovered. #mentalhealthmatters #edmontonpsychologist #psychology #powerofemotion #edmonton #poweredbyemotion #psychologytips #empowerment #edmontonmentalhealth

Now here’s a big topic - Boundaries - this might be one of the first times in history that worldwide we have all been faced with exploring our boundaries, asking ourselves important questions like what makes us feel safe? What do we allow to impact us? What struggles do we have implementing and holding boundaries? Or maybe are we holding boundaries that are too rigid?

Your own boundaries are the only ones you can set, control, and change. In other words, you can’t set boundaries around others or think of it as others either respecting or crossing your boundaries.

So what are boundaries then??

What you ALLOW in and what you ALLOW out.

This can be a total mind shift to see boundary this way, and it’s also incredibly empowering as you have the agency to control your own incoming and outgoing boundaries.

#poweredbyemotion #emotionfocusedskillstraining #emotionispower #emotionrevolution #powerofboundary #psychology #edmonton #mentalhealth #awareness #emotion #redtreepsychology #psychologyedmonton #edmontonmentalhealth

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