Permission to Feel

Most parents desire to guide their children to healthy emotional regulation.  Some do this by raising the good through identifying and reinforcing positive behaviors, Sally, thank you for not interrupting. Others do it through discouraging behaviors, Tommy, please stop whining. Some try to do both. 

At Calo, we too wish to focus on healthy emotional regulation but one of the benefits of having the structure of an RTC is our ability to focus on the root of emotion instead of the surface (crying, sad affect, hyperactivity).  We call our approach, permission to feel without violence. At Calo, students are given permission to feel their various emotionsdepression, happiness, anger, joy and so forth provided their actions are safe (non-violent).  Yes, we provide tools to assist them in regulating their emotions (Trust of Control) but ultimately, as human beings, we need to feel various emotions from time to time and have someone listen and validate some of those feelings (as long all feel safe).  Naturally, most people are most uncomfortable with negative emotions.

Here is a challenge for anyone reading thisthe next time your child, spouse, or co-worker shares something emotional such as feeling sad, depressed, or angry, try to really listen, attune, and accept the persons feelings instead of trying to make the person feel better. You will know when you need to provide feedback or create insight but first allow a safe environment to explore feelingsgive permission to feel.