Based on Doc Snipes' upcoming book 100+ Practical Tools to Defeat Depression.
- Define emotional interventions
- Discuss why it is important to add-in happiness experiences
- Discuss solution focused methods for helping clients identify emotional interventions
- Define mindfulness and how it can help clients tap into happiness and gratitude and develop hardiness
- Explore types of emotional interventions that can be used in individual and group counseling
Emotional interventions address the emotions that keep you feeling depressed.
Accept unpleasant emotions and improve the next moment
Prevent unnecessary unpleasantness
Add pleasant emotions
Turn off the autopilot.
Beach ball or Jenga
How would you feel if…
Fear is a natural threat response.
There are 6 basic threats: Rejection, isolation, failure, loss of control, the unknown and death
Individual: Have clients answer the questions in the book between sessions
Brainstorm types of situations that make people in the group experience a particular type of fear
Discuss as a group why this is fear-provoking
Explore how addressing this fear will impact depression
Identify strategies that have been (or could be) effective
Use the challenging questions (in the book) to address the fear
Define guilt and explore its impact on mood and self esteem
Have clients identify the things they feel guilty for on a sheet of paper. Let them share whichever ones they choose
Explore why they are angry at themselves (feel guilty) about this
Create a guilt pack.
Get a bunch of stones or bricks. Have clients count how many guilts are on their list and add that many weights to their pack. Talk about how much guilt weighs them down and zapps their energy.
Grief indicates you lost something important to you (rejection, isolation, failure, loss of control, the unknown and death)
Anger is a part of the grief process, as is depression
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance
Have clients define acceptance
Identify the types of things that can be grieved. Loss of…
Group activity: Brainstorm the loss list. For each type of loss, identify how to deal with it (radically accept it, get it back, etc…)
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can, and
The wisdom to know the difference.
Review the list of your current stressors and irritants
Identify which ones of those you have the power to change, and what you can do to change them.
For those you cannot change, how can you change the way you feel about them? Let it go? Look at the bright side? View it as a learning experience? Remove that stressor from your life?
Now do it. This takes courage. What are you afraid of? What is holding you back from changing those things you can?
Activity: Group Brainstorm or Individual List
What did you like to do as a kid? (swing, catch fireflies, paint, slip n slide, board games, hula-hoop, rollerskate, knock knock jokes…)
What was your favorite show/cartoon?
What was your favorite food?
What was one of your favorite songs?
What was different when you were little that you miss now?
Have a play date with your inner 10-year old!
The next day, write a journal entry about the effect being a kid for a day had on you. Did it help you unblock your creativity? Did it give you a new perspective on something? Do you just feel more relaxed?
Make a plan to deal with at least one thing on your list each day. (Keep this list going forever to be mindful of your feelings.)
Then have them identify which guilts they can either forgive, fix or let go (and how (hint: See book activities)). They can take those weights out of their pack.
When people are depressed, they often feel helpless and hopeless and nothing makes them happy.
By adding in happy things, people can buffer against the depression
By addressing the unpleasant feelings, they happy chemicals can be more effective.
Emotional interventions help you address the unpleasant feelings and add pleasant feelings
By developing a better feelings vocabulary, it will be easier to identify how you are feeling and address it.
Mindfulness helps you stay in the present moment so you are in touch with your feelings and don’t let them fester like a dirty wound (or a bag of poop)