Emotion and Recognition at Work
Energy, Vitality, Pleasure, Truth, Desire & The Emergent Phenomenology of Transformational Experience
“When the mind regards itself and its own power of activity, it feels pleasure: and that pleasure is greater in
proportion to the distinctness wherewith it conceives itself and its own power of activity.”
—de Spinoza (1677/2005, Part 3, Proposition LIII; emphasis added)
“One [sculpture] drew her more than the others. It didn’t mean it was better made; only that it had something
special about it that worked particularly well for her. . . . The sense that came through of the author.
Wasn’t that what made any work of art effective? You got little sidelong glimpses of a soul, and, if it resonated
in a certain way with your own, you wanted more.”
—Block (2003, pp. 223, 228–229; emphasis added)
Along with suffering, psychopathology brings with it an energy crisis: There is a shrinking of the sphere of life lived with zest, a depletion of resourcefulness, and a growing restriction of the inner and outer lives of the individuals so afflicted (all of us at moments, some of us when moments develop into patterns and grooves). That is why a fundamental goal of the experiential therapies, along with ameliorating symptoms and relieving suffering, is to restore vitality and energy—the fuel for life.
This chapter is devoted to something as basic to the therapeutic process as the air we breathe: the process of transformation. It explores how, through a transformational process rooted in emotional experience, suffering can morph into flourishing, contraction can be motivationally reversed, and a reorientation toward growth can be achieved…
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