• October 3, 2016

    You have said that it should be ok to express emotions in the work group. I’m not sure I feel safe enough to do that.

    I have said that it should be possible to express emotions in a work group because the participants have agreed to work together. They have agreed to take ownership of their own reactions. I have not said that work group members should express their emotions in the group. Do you see the difference? Many of you try to make instructions into rules.

    The point is to make it more possible to observe self in the work group. In ordinary society, we are likely to suppress emotions in order to be socially appropriate and this makes observation of self more difficult. If you have a tendency to repress a lot, you may benefit from expressing in the work group. But if you are able to observe self while going through an emotional reaction, you probably gain nothing from expression and there is no need for it.

    If I begin to express my emotions, I may lose control altogether.

    Exploding is not an option. This is not a primal scream group. If you are in this group it is because I think you have been house-trained. If you prove otherwise, you must leave.

    I think we are experiencing a vocabulary problem here. Expressing does not mean cutting loose and letting it all hang out. Perhaps we should use the word ‘articulating’ instead. Let’s say I am getting very frustrated with our conversation. I could say so. I do not say ‘you are frustrating me’ because then I am no longer owning my reaction, I am blaming you. If there is a rule in this work it is that you do not blame others for your state. That would be practical work on others, not on oneself.

    So you might say ‘I am frustrated by this conversation’. The potential benefit is that you have made a statement that allows you to separate somewhat from the state and see it more clearly, more objectively, without denying it, without pretending not to be frustrated and repressing the symptoms of frustration. Perhaps at that point you can laugh at yourself for having such a reaction. You may also get a sense of how your state looks to someone else. Impartial observation of self includes the sense of being seen and that is the aim.

    On the other hand, if you are able to hold and observe your frustration, neither expressing nor repressing it, you may be able to ingest the energy and move on with no one else being aware of your work. Great. But if not, it should be possible to articulate your state to members of the work group, for your benefit.

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