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Can Emotional Regulation Replace Therapy?

That’s a question I get very often. No, emotional regulation with Tipi is not intended to replace or to be a substitute for psychotherapy because psychotherapy and emotional regulation have different goals.

Psychotherapy aims at intellectual and emotional exploration, cognitively identitying reasons for certain thoughts or feelings. Emotional regulation is based in somatic sensations to bring about the resolution of unproductive or injurious feelings without the need for intellectual introspection. For me, the two approaches are complementary, and should often be used hand-in-hand.

Once a disruptive pattern is identified, it can be regulated through our natural capacity for emotional regulation. The regulation is the most straightforward part of the process. What we often find challenging is:

  • Recognizing a pattern
  • Ceasing to identify with a pattern
  • Taking ownership of our emotional pain instead of blaming it on external events or on our past
  • Accepting to let goof an emotional pattern. For all of this, psychotherapy or coaching is extremely useful.

However, once a person is ready to let go of—to resolve—the emotional difficulties from which they suffer, then emotional regulation is the best way to do so.

Why is it the best way?
First of all, it is the most natural way. Our body is naturally built to regulate recurring emotions—no need to reinvent the wheel!

It is painless, both physically and emotionally. Dealing with emotional pain is hard enough, don’t you think? It is exhausting, even soul-crushing, casting a shadowy veil on every clear day we could have. Thankfully, the actual resolution is painless.

Finally, emotional regulation is fast; the physical sensations which are present during an emotion offer the most direct way to the origin of the difficulty.

Many of us, myself included, have experienced therapy. Maybe it’s a few sessions, maybe a sustained treatment course. Many find the self-examination and introspection of therapy quite useful—it helps us to understand the “script” of thoughts we play in our head. Unfortunately, understanding / accepting our emotional script and changing it are two very different things. 
If you feel ready to flip your script, then emotional regulation is for you.

Your body is ready. Is your mind?

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