Lacking experience and a frontal cortex, the infant literally looks to his parents to see how he should feel about whatever is going on. He does this by making eye contact and reading the expression on their face, which he can do almost immediately after birth. If he sees that his parents are serene and happy, then he will be happy as well. If he sees that his parents are anxious, then his bloodstream will be saturated with adrenalin and he will experience anxiety as well, even though he has no idea what is going on. His emotion is pure in the sense that he has no theory about why he feels the way he does.
With experience and the development of a frontal cortex we start to think for ourselves, and our emotional system responds to our thoughts just as it used to respond to the expression on our parent’s face. It is as though the sum of all our thoughts had an expression on its collective metaphorical face, which it does, and this is what largely determines our emotions. Our thoughts are also affected by our emotions and we sometimes have to guess about why we are feeling a certain way. We often come to the wrong conclusion about this and therefore respond ineffectively. The suspicion that we have made a mistake like this can result in further anxiety, which increases our confusion in turn. It can get complicated and we sometimes get way off track.
The goal of drug therapy is to operate on the emotional system directly, which may or may not have any effect on what you think. Interpreting and managing the relationship between thoughts and emotions is central to personal counseling and psychotherapy. The goal of talk therapy is to improve the expression on the metaphorical face of your collective thoughts by means of insight and reason, knowing that your emotions will respond to this. Trust me. Call me.
By: Joe Ferguson, PhD
Dr. Ferguson is a PhD in Clinical Psychology, Fielding University. He obtained a MBA, from Wharton School of Business. He can be reached at 332 Forest Ave., Suite #17, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Relief, Recovery, Resolution