What I have learned from CT-R II: The role of emotions

1.We have all observed that the individuals do not generally respond to positive events or positive interventions the way other people might. It is the thick crust of negativity and apathy that block out the stimuli that normal others would respond to. For example, individuals might be provided an opportunity to go on an outing. For some individuals, the situation might hit the sweet spot and they appreciate the fresh air and connectedness with the group, the exercise, the new experience. For others it may be simply a mechanical exercise. The outing itself has no specific meaning or significance.

2.How do we know whether a particular activity or intervention hits the sweet spot? In other words, how does the activity fit in with the individual’s purpose, aspirations, or meaning system? The answer to me is whether the event (conceived in broad terms) arouses emotion. The emotion may rise from simple satisfaction to exhilaration and when the emotion is aroused, it leads to motivation and then to action. This fits our standard paradigm: cognition (it is great to be outdoors)>emotion (feeling of having fun)> motivation (desire to get even more out of the experience)> action (participation in allied opportunities such as hanging out with the other individuals and staff).

3.I like to regard the emotional experience as a kind of thermometer. When the temperature is raised above the usual apathy, the emotional thermometer registers the inspiration or excitation.

4.Albert Ellis was aware of the importance of emotions when he modified Rational Therapy to Rational Emotive Therapy. Unfortunately, cognitive therapists while becoming experts in the important cognitive constructs such as correcting misinterpretations and drawing rational conclusions, they have not paid enough attention to the emotional content.

5.Conclusion:Let us pay more attention to shifting the individuals’ apathy to emotional expressiveness and see what happens in terms of positive motivation and positive action.In using the risk/reward formula, we reduce the risk by encouragement and increase the reward by positive feedback

-ATB