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Walter Logeman


Can strong feelings be expressed online? Don't people need to be able to bring their whole body into that?

Yes. Full physical expression of anger, and joy too, are all important. So can it be done online? Here are my thoughts on this:

The body exists while we are online. You can move away from the technology to hold a cushion and cry or hit a cushion to express rage. It is important to find a safe, private place for feelings, a therapy space at home. Some writing can quickly follow the feelings and the words of the online therapist can be right there on the screen to return to as well.

There is more to it. The body without imagination is not fully alive. I have seen powerful physical expressions of rage as someone tears a paper tissue.

The tissue is not a tissue, the cushion is not a cushion. The conscious power of the imagination is needed, without it physical expression is just acting out. When in the therapeutic space it is important to become aware, to answer the questions: "Who am I hitting out at!" "Who am I holding?" Writing is an excellent way to combine thinking and feeling. Expressing feelings *without* consciousness is often not healthy at all. And most important: Physically hurting your self or damaging objects is not therapeutic.

There are two roles to step into. The one who expresses feelings and the one who the feelings are aimed at. Walk in another's moccasins. If feelings are towards 'everything' - then it would be useful to step into the 'spirit of the world' and hear the cries. If feelings are towards another person, a parent or a friend then step into their shoes. Writing can help this 'role reversal'. You can write the dialogue as in a screenplay:

ANGRY ONE: GGGGGHHrrrrrr #%^&^%$#
Mr  X: Why Me? Calm down!!!!! Don't be so emotional!!!
ANGRY ONE: GGGGGGGrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
GGGGGGGrrrrrrrrr &#%^&^%$#

Notice that as you role reverse between the two roles that there there is a third presence: The writer as witness. You are not a neutral observer but a new presence, who can see and feel things that are not experienced in the other roles. You can move into your own screenplay.

Sending the writing to a therapist completes this cathartic work. As the therapist I have a sense that I facilitate, witness, validate and hold the unfolding awareness, a fourth presence.

These two items are related, they may help you in doing psychotherapy online:

The Psychotherapy Space

Role Reversal

Last updated: Thursday, 19 July, 2012