I like to think of emotions as messengers. They are there to tell me that something is not right.
There are LOTS of ways to work with emotions in psychotherapy. One way to do it is with the transactional analysis model of the inner child.
In this model, the inner child is the sensitive, wounded part of us that deeply needs caring. When we go through life ignoring her calls for help, eventually, it will affect our emotional being.
When we take the time to check in the inner child, we take the time to listen to the message she is trying to tell us through our anger, sadness or guilt. Once we have received the message and know exactly what the problem is, we can do something about it.
Working with the inner child over time teaches you how to negotiate what she needs. So, if she says, I feel so anxious that my boyfriend hasn’t called, I want a WHOLE tub of ice cream, then just like a real child, we have to negotiate.
It might sound like:
‘I know you are hurt and scared that he hasn’t called you. He might be busy or out of battery. It is not healthy to eat a whole tub of ice cream, but we can have a big hug and do some breath work. How does that sound?’
Other powerful ways to down-regulate are meditation, yoga and other forms of relaxation.
What do you use to down-regulate?