The Logical vs. The Emotional

March 11th, 2013

I’m not one much for sporting analogies, but in this case, it seems apropos.  As a therapist, I’ve been a part of many boxing matches – watching clients logical brains spar with their emotional brains.  People often think that if they can understand their emotions, they won’t have to experience them.  Logic beats emotion and, in theory at least, makes life easier. And for many beginners in therapy, the logical brain wins.  I’m not always celebrating this accomplishment.

Why? Because I think we can too easily tell ourselves – from the logical point of view – that since we shouldn’t be feeling this was, that we will simply stop feeling this way.  We work hard at this.  “There’s no good reason I should be feeling this.”  And yet we find that we continue to do so, once again reprimading ourselves for the feeling and failing at stopping it.

I often times cheer on the emotional brain.  I think the payoff is better.  Logic has it’s place.  Maybe our emotional reactions seem out of place given the circumstances.  But our feelings are here for a reason.  The reason might be in the past – triggered by a current situation.  But by avoiding them or reprimanding ourselves for having them, we don’t get very far.

My suggestion follows this path: First, we can notice our feelings. Next, we can analyze them if we choose – especially if we haven’t done this before.  After that, I think it’s time to take care of ourselves.  This might be experiencing the pain or sadness.  It might mean talking with a friend or therapist. Or it might me telling ourselves that we’re going to be ok…That it’s ok to be sad or afraid…That it will pass.  There are many options.  But allowing the emotional brain to win the fight from time to time will, in my experience, have better results.

If you’re looking for a therapist or counselor in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC, feel free to contact Mike Giordano at 202-460-6384 or at

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