Written by Dr Jessica Bolton, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, this website has been created to share important ideas about emotions, feelings, emotional systems. These are topics I’m passionate about but that can be undervalued to the detriment of our lives, our wellbeing and our mental health; our family, relationships and connections with others; our organisations, society and culture.
As we have more and more culturally acceptable ways of avoiding our feelings, the process of facing feelings is becoming harder and harder. So this website is about the emotional systems at the foundation of the feelings we experience. I will try to build up a picture, using science, theory and my clinical practice, of what the systems are for, what the feelings actually feel like and encourage us to do.
This website has a simple idea at its heart – if you get your most basic emotional systems on tract – the rest sorts itself out. I will focus on the primary emotional systems described by affective neuroscientist and rat tickler, Professor Jaak Panksepp, that are homogenous (have similar brain structures) that deal with them within a wide variety of species. These systems have been helping animals survive for between 300 and 30 million years. They are all absolutely necessary for our human emotional wellbeing and resilience. When people I have worked with get their ability to feel and appropriately express these emotions back on line, I have witnessed that they no longer just survive but thrive; clarity, purpose and resilience increase with these important changes and difficulties are addressed and overcome as they arise.
My illustrator and friend, Chris Mannion, has created Mo to show our emotional systems in action. Find out more about Mo here.