It is ok to get angry- role of rational and emotional aspects in counselling.

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

In a country like India, people prefer to seek help from a friend, a guru, an elderly person or a teacher at the time of crisis rather than making an appointment with a professional counsellor, a psychologist or a psychiatrist. As a result, many of us are familiar with either giving or receiving an advice. A few such familiar instances are – a girl from a rich, upper caste family falls in love with a boy who hails from a poor, lower caste family; a man quits his highly paid, high status job to join a low paid, lower status job; an adolescent who gets addicted since he feels that life became worthless due to his failure to get admitted into a course of his choice….so on and on. Here we had two individuals – the one who seeks help and the helper. It is most likely that the seeker and the helper standing at two extreme ends. The helper being more rational and the seeker being more emotional in their approach. Is that O.K? So how the seeker should be guided? This conflict between rational and emotional approach can be seen in many walks of life. In literature for example- in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, Antony rejects all the power and wealth for Cleopatra’s love. Life is almost a continuous game between the rational and emotional thoughts. It determines our choices. For some it is the rational and for the others it is the emotional aspect that guides them. It depends on how much value you attach to both aspects. It is a game between the head and the heart.

Emotions give colours to our life. Helping/counselling doesn’t mean that you help the seeker to think fully rational. The helper at times had to encourage the seeker to attach emotional aspects to the situations. A well proportionate combination of both aspects makes the real you.

The modern life styles at times makes you think more rational. We learn the protocol of decision making – giving little room for emotional aspects. The spontaneous emotional responses of individuals are at most times gets discouraged by the society. We classify emotions into positives and negatives. Teach people to display the so called positive emotions and hide the so called negative emotions. We need to re-think about these types of foolish classifications. Every emotion had a purpose in our life. We only need to take care that we don’t brood over any particular emotions – whether it is the so called positive or negative emotions. Let us take anger for example. Think about the situation where you could find the benefits of getting anger. You may get angry at times to your child who refuses to take medicine – who eventually gets well after taking the medicine. You could find many other such instances.

So it is important to consider both the emotional and rational value attached to the event by the client or your friend before extending any counselling, advice or help to the client/friend. It is the right emotional management that one has to acquire towards the so called positive and negative emotions. Even getting depressed for a while had it’s own benefits for our body, mind and soul. So it is advisable to keep a proportionate mixture of head and heart aspects while extending help/advice/counselling.

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