A Simplified Framework for Working with Emotions

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Reiter, Barry
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Emotion is a key element of interpersonal relations, and emotion-related difficulties are one of the leading causes of suffering and failure to adapt to the demands of life. Viewing "emotions as a symptom" via the medical model—or even emotions as "goals" in themselves— seems to continue to contribute harms to individuals via the consequences and side effects of psychophrarmaceutical and substance use, along with general losses of human potential. This paper is an investigation of the relationship between emotions (here broadly defined as a motivating factor driving behaviour and memory formation), perception, goals, and the difficulty of achieving goals. A model of emotional self-regulation termed the personal world model is constructed with the aid of a literature review, proposing emotion as the central process underlying all human self-regulatory functioning. The model is tested and refined using data from the Statistics Canada 2002 Canadian Community Health Survey. Recommendations are made as to possible applications and use of this model in future studies and during psychotherapy training and practice.