Therapists often get a bad rap for seemingly always asking, “How does that make you feel?”
While there’s certainly truth to that assumption, I believe counselors the world over ask that question so often because it’s rarely ever asked of adults in any other spheres of their lives. When’s the last time you were asked such a question?
Even in my office, my clients sometimes have trouble answering that question. Their “feeling vocabulary” is rather limited. Part of my role is to work with them to develop a stronger feeling language and explore healthy ways of expressing their feelings, especially about the challenges they’re facing.
Expanding your feeling vocabulary and learning how to clearly and confidently express what you’re feeling is an essential aspect of healthy relationships.
As presented in The Stories We Tell Ourselves, Step 3 of the Auxano Communication Approach© is, “Share with the other person the feelings you have as a result of the story you made up in your mind.”
This means the speaker may have to dig deeply into their feeling vocabulary. You’ll know when a speaker isn’t sharing his or her feelings if they’re actually sharing their perspective, opinions, or beliefs and not their feelings.
One of the phrases I recommend such people use to help kickstart their ability to relay their feelings is, “After hearing you say that, what I’m telling myself now is ….” This ought to open the door on how they truly feel about the situation at hand.