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Digital Recording

Embracing the Plurality of Emotions and Affective Experience: A 2022 primer for mental health psychotherapy workers


“Emotions punctuate almost all significant events in our lives, but their nature, causes, and consequences are among the least well understood aspects of human experience. It is easier to express emotions than to describe them and even harder to analyse and explain them.” Ben-Ze’ev, A. (2017).  

Emotions may indeed be one of the most common experiences in human life, but behind this more obvious reflection lies a rich, fascinating but deeply paradoxical landscape of empirical research. Indeed, the emotions may qualify as one of the Chalmer’s so-called hard problems in cognitive science, alongside mind-body relationship and consciousness. Nonetheless, this highly fluid terrain of emotion research offers mental health workers important depth, breadth and renewed hope when approaching client’s affective experiences. In particular, observable relief from emotional distress might be integrated with subjective notions of personal meaning.  

This two-hour ‘emotions primer’ ambitiously seeks to offer practitioners at least three benefits. First, an up-to-date survey of current multidimensional research will provide an overview of both commonalities and important disputes in the field. What are these elusive phenomena that comprise emotional experiences? Included here will be a review of competing theories and the emerging consensus for a pluralistic based component model. Second, after this required conceptual heavy lifting, attention will turn to the central dilemma of unique individual meaning (referenced by the technical terms ‘intentionality’ or ‘aboutness’) versus physiological mechanism. Following an exploration of emotion dysregulation as a factor in psychopathology, focus turns to a surprisingly broad field of emotion regulation. Finally, the introduction of a practitioner’s checklist will offer viewers a chance to integrate the session’s content within their unique practice. 

As with so many areas in the biological sciences (which might properly include the psychological sciences), complexity asks us to also apply more pluralistic approaches to our therapeutic work. Emotions may provide a model that might extend our work to include both relief of suffering and enhancement of personal meaning.  



This online program is worth 2.5 hours CPD.



  1. Evaluate three psychodynamic relational emotion processes in light of our individual therapeutic practices.
  2. Differentiate current shorter- and longer-term approaches to relational psychodynamic psychotherapy.
  3. Apply key process concepts to a fictional case study.


  • Introduction: Emergence of an exciting emotion research context
  • Part One: Preparatory terminological material
    • Relational Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (including attachment theory)
    • Shorter-term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
    • Emotions in Psychodynamic Theory (especially empathy)
  • Part Two: Therapeutic emotion processes
    • Implicit relational knowing
    • Episodes of Meeting, Engagement and the ‘charged other’
    • Being moved
    • (And being stuck and engaging countertransference)
  • Part Three: Case vignettes for exploring emotional therapeutic process
  • Conclusion

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Physicians
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers



Overall:      4.5

Total Reviews: 102

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