Emotions and feelings as the body's comment to personal relationships.

Willert, S. (Lecturer)

Activity: Talks and presentationsTalks and presentations in private or public companies


Modern neurobiological research on emotions (Damasio, LeDoux, Panksepp etc.) is changing our conceptions of emotional life. Rather than viewing emotions as belonging to an irrational realm, separated from cognition proper, (as in Freud's original hydraulic metaphor), emotions are understood as reflections of phylogenetically evolved, evaluative and apperceptively based action systems helping  organisms to structure and relate in adaptive fashion to their species-specific Umwelt. One special feature of humans' emotional life, setting our species apart from all other, is that emotions not only guide us in our relational exchanges with our external surroundings (or Umwelt). Felt emotions, or feelings, also show up in our perceptual fields as distinguishable objects of attention constituting an important subset of phenomena belonging to our bodily-inside-as-Umwelt. This is the rationale behind describing - as the title does - emotions and feelings as the body's (subjectively experienced) comments to personal relationships. A model of human self- or second order consciousness, consistent with the described theoretical framework, will be presented. Implications of the model for the understanding and handling of the psychotherapeutic encounter will be discussed.

Period21 May 2008
Event typeConference
LocationAthen, Greece