Many clients I see in counseling have difficulty with their emotions. Sometimes it's difficulty identifying what they are feeling. Other times they do not know what to do with what they feel. Other clients struggle to allow themselves to feel how they are feeling deep down. Emotions are important. They help us to experience connection with others. They help us understand others and help others understand us. Emotions can motivate us to act and help us avoid and survive dangerous situations. Many of us though were not taught nor shown how to appropriately handle or identify our emotions. Perhaps our parents weren't taught what to do either or perhaps they had poor role models. Whatever the cause, clients come to counseling frustrated with emotions. Many don't want to think about them or feel them at all! Emotions are neither good nor bad; they are what they are. What we do with them or as a result of them can certainly be healthy or unhealthy. But the emotions themselves are not unhealthy. Our response to an emotion can be unhealthy though. If I lash out at someone because I'm feeling angry, that is a poor response. If I choose to dwell on my jealous thoughts and feelings, that is an unhealthy response. Monitoring our responses to emotion is a healthy skill in self-awareness. Counseling can help you identify your emotions and know how to manage them if they are triggering unproductive responses. Counseling can help you learn how thoughts fuel emotion and how to change your thinking patterns so you feel differently. Therapy provides the tools to help you communicate your emotions in a healthy way to others around you. Therapy can help identify unhealthy communication patters and teach you new skills for productive communication. Many clients need assistance learning how to process emotions. What do I do when I feel sadness, anger or hurt? Rather than eating or drinking (or shopping) feelings away, clients can learn how to think about the feelings they are experiencing in more healthy ways. We all need to know productive and healthy ways for handling the feelings we feel. If this is an area you would like to work on in your life, counseling can be a great resource!