Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Emotional Corrective Experience – at Home

Recently I had a political discussion with some friends.  Initially it was an innocent conversation about things we hear about in the news. Quickly it turned to sharing contrasting views on both policies and politicians.  In the middle of the discussion, I noticed that one friend stopped interjecting her opinion, and then she stood up, and finally excused herself from the room. 

It turns out that she has a long history of family members engaging in political talk that ends in personal fighting and insults.  Her emotional experience is very negative in these situations, so to her, there was no question that this conversation would lead to personal hardship. 

Rationalizing the situation in her head had no impact on her, avoiding the situation did not help either; but living through the conversation and seeing that all of us were friends at the end, was incredibly relieving and stress reducing.  She had an emotional corrective experience that contradicted her previous belief that “Political conversations always lead to personal hardship”. 

The next time we all gathered my friend took a chance by enduring the political talk until the very end.  Based on her past positive experience, she knew we might not agree politically but our personal relationship would not affected.  With more of these Emotional Corrective Experiences, my friend will become much more confidant and comfortable; soon she may also feel safe enough to share her own opinion: even if others disagree.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Emotional Corrective Experience - Definition

One of the most powerful influences that helps each of us to grow and change is something called “Emotional Corrective Experience”.  Dr. Hurd defined this therapeutic term as “a first-hand experience that challenges a previously held, and false or distorted, belief.”

The Medical Dictionary defined this phenomenon as, when a person changes his or her opinion, belief, or behavior pattern based on a positive experience.  In other words, there is a change in the ability to cope with something difficult based on this new and positive emotional information.  It is not enough to “reason” a bad experience away, or a past pattern away; the most sustainable impact happens when a person re-experiences it in a favorable way.

Human beings are emotional beings, and so much of how we interpret the world around us is based on our emotional experience.  So, reflect on some of your negative thoughts and patterns in order to find out how they became so bad; and ultimately how you can “change” them to have a good experience instead.

To be continued…