Saturday, August 15, 2020

Primary emotions vs secondary and tertiary emotions

I often try to educate my patients about primary emotions, secondary emotions, and tertiary emotions.

What’s that?

Here is an example. If someone has a primary emotion of disconnectedness and loneliness, this can lead to a secondary emotion of fear/anxiety, which then can lead to a tertiary emotion of anger/frustration/avoidance/withdrawal, or distraction through food, smoke, alcohol, drugs, gambling etc. 

People tend to fix the problem at the tertiary and secondary level because these are what people can see, but it’s much more effective if one can fix it at the primary level. There is much leverage in that.

The main message is try to fix the problem at the core rather than on the surface. 

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