Follow your heart? No! Follow your head……

by Rod Smith

I get a little peeved when cartoons portray a passive therapist repeating how do you feel? as if feelings are the cornerstone of effective therapy. In decades of therapeutic encounters how do you feel?may be the question I have asked least.

Feelings are deceptive. Fleeting. Feelings offer a poor guide to healthy action and often trap clients in inaction.

Thinking is what makes the difference. I am far more interested in what my clients THINK than I am in what clients FEEL. Of course I acknowledge the importance of feelings, but I am careful to avoid elevating feelings so they trump thinking.

I believe people think their way into a new and helpful ways of behaving.

The head (thinking) is a far more-trustworthy leader than the heart.

I have seen many a client think (read, plan, plot, negotiate, strategize) his or her way out of an overwhelming personal dilemma while he or she was, at the same time, FEELING overwhelmed, debilitated, incapable of doing anything.

Getting your head into gear can pull your entire life into a whole new realm of helpful, good feelings, which of course, as I said, are not to be overly trusted.

2 Comments to “Follow your heart? No! Follow your head……”

  1. I agree! When our thinking changes, our feelings will follow – albeit in a while – if we persist. Not as easy as it sounds, but it sure does work. Thanks for that reminder.

  2. Wow! You said so much in that brief article. I completely agree. As much as I’m a feeler, feeler, feeler… I often get paralyzed by those feelings and forget what move I must make to get out of an ugly situation or which direction I must turn to move away from someone I shouldn’t be around. When I was trying to end a toxic relationship several years ago, I was often lead astray by feelings of pity for this person. In order to think my way into right actions, I wrote this on an index card and put it on my dashboard: “Do the next right thing. What IS that next right thing?” Often that would help me decide that instead of driving to this person’s house, I would go to the gym or volunteer at the kids’ school for an hour until the urge to act on my feelings had subsided. Thanks for your wisdom, Rod. I love reading your stuff.

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