Facts About Emotions

One of the common problems to be addressed in therapy at Three Springs is “emotional dysregulation.” This term refers to a state in which emotions of the individual are extreme and/or out of balance, often driving extreme and/or impulsive behaviors that create problems in living. This “emotional dysregulation” not only gives rise to ineffective behaviors, but also affects thinking, sense of self, and relationships. Therefore, education and skills about emotions is a central focus of Three Springs. Below are some examples of areas addressed.

  1. There are between eight and ten primary or basic emotions:
    •   anger
    •   sorrow
    •   joy
    •   fear
    •   disgust
    •   guilt/shame
    •   interest/curiosity
    •   envy
  2. People are born with the potential or biological readiness for these emotions. All others are learned and are usually some combination of these basic emotions.
  3. Emotions are particular types of patterned reactions to events. They are complex and involve many components.
  4. Emotions come and go. They are like waves on the sea. Most emotions only last from seconds to minutes.
  5. Emotions are self-perpetuating once they start. When an emotion seems to stay around, it's called a mood.
  6. Emotions can be experienced at varying levels of intensity and different "shades."
  7. Emotional experiencing is always prompted by an internal or external event.
  8. Much of the experiencing of emotions is "hard-wired" in humans, i.e. facial expressions, action urges and certain physiological effects.
  9. Emotional experiencing has aftereffects.
  10. Even though all emotions have action urges associated with them, a person does not necessarily have to act on that urge.
  11. Past learning, past wounding, physiological factors, lack of knowledge, skill, and personal habits all influence how a person relates to their emotions.
  12. Emotions have purposes: they communicate, they validate, they motivate.