Emotional Adaptation Counseling

Solve the moment, not the problem

Life presents many challenges that can legitimately be difficult and upsetting. Losses, disappointments, pressures and conflicts can all result in intensely uncomfortable internal experiences. These experiences can include emotions such as frustration, anger, agitation, fear, worry and shame – along with distressing sensations, images and thoughts. Some of the challenges we face can actually overwhelm our nervous system resulting in states of mind that can lead to destructive and/or self-destructive behavior.

This is where Emotional Adaptation Counseling comes in: to be a resource for people whose emotions or emotional behavior are a cause of concern or a source of distress for themselves and/or others. How we relate to our difficult emotions has significant impact on how we feel about ourselves and what we believe about the world we live in; and the ways in which we express our emotions have a major impact on the quality and nature of our relationships. Therefore, how we deal with our distressing states of mind plays an essential role in determining the meaning and course of our lives as well as how healthy or gratifying our relationships are.

In Emotional Adaptation Counseling, the emphasis is on learning how to make internal shifts that decrease the intensity of emotional agitation and increase the possibility of clarity and healthy connection. There are obviously ways of expressing our upset and distress that are not as healthy as others. Aggression, controlling behavior and withdrawal can greatly interfere with the capacity for having healthy relationships, often pushing away the ones we love. The intensity of internal distress in reaction to a challenging event can also lead to depression, high levels of anxiety and/or substance abuse, all of which can negatively impact our ability to relate to others in effective ways. Learning how to be emotionally adaptive – to relate to our anger, frustration, fear, loneliness, anxiety, etc. in healthier ways – can build confidence and decrease the intensity and frequency of conflict in our lives, which can be quite liberating.

Emotional Adaptation Counseling can help the individual – or couple – learn tools for decreasing the intensity of internal distress and increasing the capacity for more effective communication. Strategies designed to de-escalate emotional intensity, increase social-emotional awareness and improve the quality of connection in relationship are at the heart of Emotional Adaptation Counseling. I focus on building or strengthening emotional adaptation skills with clients who:

  • Want to improve anger management skills
  • Feel they need to learn how to cope with stress and frustration in healthier ways
  • Are in the process of recovering from drug or alcohol abuse
  • Are feeling overwhelmed by loss and/or grief
  • Are struggling with anxiety or depression
  • Are sometimes triggered to behave in destructive or self-destructive ways by deep feelings of shame

The focus in Emotional Adaptation Counseling is on increasing awareness that the nervous system is starting to, or has already moved into an agitated state, and then applying experiential and cognitive techniques to down-shift into a more adaptive state of mind. The emphasis is on shifting attention from the external stressor or problem to the individual’s internal experience in order to access internal (or inter-personal) resources that help de-escalate the nervous system. I have specific training and experience in anger management and emotional adaptation counseling.

If you are looking to feel more confident in your ability to influence your emotions and nervous system in healthy and adaptive ways,  contact me to schedule a free 15-minute conversation.

To make an appointment or for more information please call 415.339.8335 in Marin or 707.583.2353 in Sonoma. Copyright 2011 Doug Silberstein, MFT. All rights reserved.