Chrysalis Counselling

EMOTIONAL WHOLENESS - The Road to Recovery

These are real people, real lives, and real issues. And each of them is hurting and in need of healing if their hurt is not addressed it can lead to serious physical, emotional and psychological problems.

To simply define emotion, it is a very deep and instinctive feeling which reflects your state of mind. Our emotions are governed by circumstances, events, our relationships with people etc. It is also associated with mood, temperament, personality, disposition and motivation.

John D. (Jack) Mayer says, “Emotions operate on many levels.  They have a physical aspect as well as a psychological aspect. Emotions bridge thought, feeling, and action – they operate in every part of a person, they affect many aspects of a person, and the person affects many aspects of the emotions.

Every human being has the capacity to feel deeply. Emotions are like barometers which tell us what is going on inside of us. Feelings reflect what is going on inside our bodies.

Our emotions play a major role in determining whether our life is meaningful or miserable. We experience both healthy and unhealthy emotions. In a general sense, we don’t have direct control over our feelings. We cannot will ourselves to feel good or, to like somebody we hate. However, we do exert indirect control over our emotions by the way we think and believe. Our emotions are therefore products of our thoughts and beliefs.

Our thinking pattern:

One of the most interesting aspects of behavior is the way in which unacceptable emotions rise and develop within our personalities. This works in the following way: Our belief system and attitudes to life are assimilated from the environment in which we are raised. The home, family, friends, our culture… all influence our thinking patterns. Secondly we also assimilate attitudes from all the traumatic life experiences like dysfunctional families, physical and emotional abuse, death of a loved one, etc. These impressions get ingrained into our minds either by repetition or because of the intensity of the experience itself. We also live our lives based on what we have chosen to believe about ourselves and the world around us. The (unreal) goals we set for ourselves are easily thwarted and when our plans go unrealized, we experience certain ’signal emotions’.

How people handle emotions:

  1. Suppress Emotion: Whenever we experience painful and difficult emotions and we are afraid to face them we end up either avoiding them or substituting them for something else, eg, substituting food for lack of love in a relationship. These emotions don’t go away, but remain buried in our conscious/sub conscious minds and over time begin to manifest as physical and emotional dysfunctions.

  2. Repress Emotions: These are those emotions which we shut out and not know they exist till it is manifested in some form of behaviour and interpreted by someone. Eg childhood trauma of physical/emotional abuse which manifests in some way.

  3. Express Emotions: One may have different ways of expressing both positive and negative emotions and usually have their own rationale for doing so. They may be socially acceptable or unacceptable ways of expressing them.

  4. Acknowledge and Confess Emotions: Acknowledging and confessing emotions means , accepting an emotion and owning it , choosing to take responsibility for the behaviour and the emotion behind it.

Signal Emotions’ is a warning system designed to draw attention to things which are going on inside us. Our emotions play a major role in determining whether our life is meaningful or miserable. By way of our emotion, we experience either the worst or the best. We experience some emotions in the form which is unhealthy and unhelpful. These incapacitating and debilitating emotions can be narrowed down to three main groups:

  1. Anger and Resentment

This includes all similar emotions such as irritation, hostility, frustration, contempt and so on. These types of emotions arise because some external circumstance has blocked the goal we have been pursuing. When we perceive that the goal we believe we must reach in order to “feel good” about ourselves has been blocked by someone or something outside of us, the usual emotional reaction is anger, frustration and resentment. We refer to this as an ‘undermined goal’

  1. Guilt and Shame

This includes such feelings as embarrassment, self-pity, contempt, etc. When these emotions arise, they indicate that the goal we are pursuing is unattainable. When we believe that attaining a certain goal brings life, a failure to reach it produces a sense of guilt which sometimes reaches the level of despair. This is because we believe that life is found by our own efforts and when we fail to reach the goal we are unconsciously setting for ourselves, the emotion of guilt floods our being. We feel guilty or ashamed that we are not reaching the standard we set for ourselves. We refer to this as an ‘unreachable goal’.

  1. Anxiety and Fear

This category includes such feelings as doubt, apprehension, uncertainty, etc. These emotions rise because of fear of failure that we may not be able to get to the goal which we believe we ought to reach to “feel good” about ourselves. The goal is reachable but we are plagued with doubts that we will be able to reach it and that doubt triggers off the feelings which have been described. We refer to this as an ‘uncertain goal’.

Everybody has some damaged emotions .Every person experiences some level of ‘emotional dysfunction’. Some are more dysfunctional than others, but every person has been affected. It is also true to a great extent that we tend to repeat in one form or another those dysfunctions we fail to resolve, or take out our hurt and anger on the ones we love-and then pass on our dysfunctions to our children!

Emotions and physical health

Emotions affect your physical bodies as much as your body affects your feelings and thinking.  When we ignore, dismiss, repress or just ventilate their emotions, we are in danger of disrupting the balance of our mind and body. The bio-chemical balance of the body changes with every change in our emotions. 

Negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, negativity, frustration and depression cause chemical reactions in our body that are very different from the chemicals released when you feel positive emotions such as happy, content, loved, accepted. Chronic, unresolved negative emotions are the underlying cause for most physical illness.  We all need to want healing badly enough to be willing to face our pain and resolve it rather than bury it.

Emotional Wholeness

The Road to Recovery

One needs to find a safe place with a trusted friend, professional counselor, therapy group, or recovery group where we can confidentially experience and express our feelings of hurt, guilt, shame, anger, fear, etc.

To help those who are hurting

God give us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change. Courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.


1. Yancey, Philip. “Where is God When it Hurts.” Zondervan Publishing House, Michigan.

2. Anderson, N.T., and Baumchen, Hal. “Overcoming Depression Finding Hope Again.” Regal Books California, USA. 1999.

3. Griffin, Paul and Griffin, Liz. “Hope and Healing for the Abused.” Ben Books, AP, India.

4. “Emotional Wellness.” Lineline.Co.Za. 2010. <>

Chrysalis Counseling,Bangalore, India