I had a very interesting moment last week with a client who was actively and appropriately feeling strong emotions. For a split second I had a strong reaction to want to stop, prevent, override his pain. Thank goodness it was only for a fraction of a second and I quickly was able to compose myself and line back up into my role as a witness and a navigator into the emotional world of his experience; along with focus on the physical and mental. Like any good therapist, I took time later on to reflect on what happened in that moment. Not that it was a complete infraction, as after all I bring myself into the room with my clients and my humanness, but it is important for me to assess what is happening for me in such moments in order to bring full awareness and commitment to my work with people. I came to an understanding of my reaction as being one we normally have for each other. I too do not enjoy times when my friends and family are hurting; nor myself, and our normal intuitive reaction is to make it go away or stop. A knee jerk response similar to pulling one’s hand away from the hot burning element. So why in counselling would we ask folks to move toward the pain? Think of it in this way…. Physically our bodies react instantaneously to protecting ourselves from pain, such as pulling our hand away the burning stove. Emotionally speaking our bodies are prepared, and prefer, to move through the emotion. The body actually does not want to hold it in, contain it, watch it bubble up inside, as it becomes as I describe poison flowing through us. Ever notice how when life is throwing you curve balls left, right, and center, and then all of a sudden you feel like you are going to snap…. Or you do in fact snap. This is the build up of the feelings that have been ignored and denied until the body finally ups the ante to get your attention. So, when we are in our bodies and paying attention and noticing emotion and experiencing emotion we strengthen the relationship and care we have for ourselves, just as I had my client doing and calling it appropriate. No one else can do this for us so take the time to check in with yourself and just ask how am I doing? What am I feeling? And take the risk to sit with any emotion and move yourself through it as a way to release and relax and be with yourself in a calming way. What a warm loving welcome for the body and soul.