Why we need the Emotion Revolution

Human beings relate to themselves and to the world in individual and diverse ways. This diversity is reflected in the field of psychotherapy. Therapeutic approaches range from focusing on rational thinking to non-conceptual experiencing; from contemplating practices to exposure through behavioral experiments; from primal expression of impulses to a focus on downregulating emotions. Different approaches to change will serve different needs for different people at different times. We see the diversity in our field as both necessary and fruitful.

At the same time, there are models and approaches within our field that claim superiority. One example, which also represents our current zeitgeist, is the metaphor of the human mind as a computer or an information processing unit. Even though this metaphor can serve us well in explaining important aspects of human functioning, we believe it can also provide us with a skewed view on what it means to be human. Firstly, this metaphor does not put human experience at center. Secondly, emotions and emotional pain can be perceived as irrational mistakes in programming. Even though emotions are being put more to the fore in the field of psychotherapy, they are often treated as secondary to other mental processes. Thirdly, this metaphor does not sufficiently highlight fundamental human motivational aspects, such as seeking connection, experiencing love and confirming our identity.

We believe the Emotion Revolution is needed for several reasons. It is needed to unite voices that are talking about emotions and the experiencing of emotions as the key point of interest to the field of psychotherapy. It is needed to improve our understanding of emotions and how they change. It is needed in order to influence the current zeitgeist by communicating knowledge to the world about the importance of experiencing and processing emotions. And it is needed in order to make the world a more emotion friendly place. Our belief is that this will lead to better communication, more tolerance for diversity, and ultimately aid the human race in helping our entire planet prosper.