Emotional Literacy and the FEEL Method
A key component of the work of a Creative Depth Coach is to support clients to make sense of their emotions through their growing emotional literacy, well expressed emotional agility and emotional sovereignty.
As an individual you will work on this within your own life experience, exploring and identifying when emotion comes to the surface, how it behaves, what it needs, where you make meaning, default into old beliefs or react, and how you flow with, build relationship, deepen understanding and respond.
When you are professional guiding, facilitating process, providing space for healing and assisting in transformation and developmental growth, you will become attuned to emotional energies rising in or touched on by the client. As a witness, you will observe the clients relationship to energies that are sourced in wounding, healing, story, narrative process, role and/or relational boundaries. The emotion may seem to be unexpressed or under-expressed, marked by confusion and overwhelm.
I favor the term emotional literacy over the often used emotional intelligence, simply because it points to the evolutionary growth of knowing oneself, ongoing learning that is fostered within the word literate. Literacy is not only an effort to know the basics, but to be deeply committed to gaining knowledge; recognizing and valuing that emotional learning is an ongoing commitment and practice that will support one’s own ability to shift experience and find flow.
Our emotional experience is fluid, experienced differently at different times. Emotional agility is another way to explore how the content in our lives is recognized and remembered through various sensing systems. These include somatic or embodied, intellectual, memory based, psychological, energetic, psyche or soul and blended experiences where two or more of these markers converge to express emotional awareness.
Because of this fluidity the language of emotions will also need to take various forms, including color, texture, image, metaphor, narrative, sound and movement. This is where the work of blended creative practice becomes so necessary.
Emotional knowledge is a rich inner resource of understanding, resiliency and communication, learning how to FEEL is a whole self, active participation endeavor necessary to a client’s forward movement. An effective approach that supports emotional literacy, is the FEEL Method. This process was developed in my practice and is taught in the JCI Creative Depth Coaching Certification.
FEEL = Focused Experience with Emotional Literacy
Complex, big and difficult emotional experiences can be overwhelming, confused and diffuse. In charged or traumatic situations fight or flight kick in and we want to run and hide. Rarely are our emotional experiences focused.
FEEL works to redefine experience by focusing our attention into our own range of emotions that have been hidden, disowned, activated reaction, are reflected by avoidance or have created confusion. Experiential expression, exposing edges and embracing vulnerability offer the keys to discovery. Redefining emotional experience is found within the meanings and narratives that are attached to memory. They can be untethered and re-connected forward to new experiential outcomes. Clarifying one’s stories will assist in understanding individual emotions.
FEEL is as an experiential process of focusing emotional content, exploring a specific emotion or feeling state using language, image or metaphor. Exploring or unpacking the experience of specific situations, relationships and circumstances, opens up a defined space for recognizing where emotional content may be held. Understanding the nuances of an emotional state is assisted by developing a personal language for the specific feelings, rather than running and numbing. Ultimately by developing focused experiences of emotional content, dynamic change is activated through resiliency, clarity and responsiveness.
As the FEEL method expands emotional literacy, self-referencing and emotional mastery emerges. The willingness to be vulnerable and feel emotions that are not easy is the key to cracking our own emotional code.
Supporting emotional literacy is essential work to healing and wholeness and I have seen this approach work with my clients repeatedly. FEEL is just one of the many frameworks and tools taught in the Creative Depth Coaching Certification Program to support a holistic client-centered approach to depth coaching.