Using Feelings as Data – Circle of Security International

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Using Feelings as Data

  • Post category:Facilitators

Much of our time facilitating COS-P focuses on the building of relationships. When parents share their stories, they are inviting the facilitator to join them in their lives, to know more about who they are in relationship and, consequently, who you and they are together.

When parents feel safe enough to share their thoughts and feelings about being a parent, we can sometimes find ourselves reacting to the emerging affect both in the parent and in our own person.

So I ask you this. When you are with parents can you stop and hold a feeling that is emerging inside of you enough to ask yourself, “How can I use this as information? I find myself feeling mean, I feel angry, I feel helpless. What is this parent trying to teach me right now?”

Feelings often move a person to do something. In COS-P work, when feelings emerge, the facilitator must first inhibit action so they are able to hold feeling. In other words, you first have to suppress the urge to ‘do’ and instead just hold it. Hold it and look at it, ask about it.

“This feeling is getting evoked in me, what’s that all about?”

Next you’ll want to explore how you are learning more about this parent, and about their relationship with their child.

By stepping back and recognizing these emerging feelings as data, we can use the information to gain a better understanding of what the parent is experiencing in their relationship with their child.

When we are able to step back and use the emerging feelings as data, we can then use the newfound information to better understand and build relationships with parents.