Mapping the Embodied Emotional Mind: The Emotional Field

  • Gernot HaukeEmail author


Empirical research makes it quite clear: individuals who are unable to identify and to differentiate their emotions are more likely to engage in dysfunctional down-regulation strategies of stress, such as the misuse of alcohol, binge-eating, self-harm etc. In therapy, the energy needed to induce behavioural change can be gained from the emotions of the client. However, to reach this goal, we need to take a closer look at different kinds of emotions involved. Problematic situations often give rise to a variety of emotions, whose dissimilarity we may not ignore. With the help of the method described in this chapter, we can draw a clearer picture of the difficult emotional state of the client. By doing this, we develop the Emotional Field. All relevant emotions gain a place in this field. We do not categorise emotions into positive and negative ones. In problematic situations, all emotions convey important information. Their messages can be decoded and used effectively for goal realisation. We make use of findings from embodiment research which shows that changes in body posture, gestures, facial expressions, breathing patterns and voice can create emotions and influence the way emotional states are being processed. We distinguish between primary and secondary emotions. In this context, the importance of the Survival Strategy also becomes apparent. Emotions vitalize us. Intense work with emotions not only rapidly highlights the core of our clients’ problems, but also activates the energy needed for goal attainment.


  1. Bloch, S. (1989). Effector patterns of basic emotions: An experimental model for emotional Induction. Behavioural Brain Research, 33, 317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bloch, S., Lemeignan, M., & Aguilera, N. (1991). Specific respiratory patterns distinguish between basic emotions. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 11, 141–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boiten, F. A., Frijda, N. H., & Wientjes, C. J. E. (1994). Emotions and respiratory pattern: review and critical analysis. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 17, 103–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dijkstra, K., & Zwaan, R. A. (2014). Memory and action. In L. A. Shapiro (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition (pp. 296–305). Abingdon: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  5. Duclos, S. E., Laird, J. D., Schneider, E., Sexter, M., Stern, L., & Van Lighten, O. (1989). Emotion-specific effects of facial expressions and postures on emotional experience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 100–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Flack, W. F. (2006). Peripheral feedback effects of facial expressions, bodily postures, and vocal expressions on emotional feelings. Cognition and Emotion, 20, 177–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fruzzetti, A. R., Crook, W., Erikson, K. M., Lee, J. E., & Worrall, J. M. (2008). Emotion regulation. In W. T. O’Donohue & J. E. Fisher (Eds.), Cognitive behavior therapy: Applying empirically supported techniques in your practice (pp. 174–186). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  8. Glenberg, A. M., Witt, J. K., & Metcalfe, J. (2013). From the revolution to embodiment: 25 years of cognitive psychology. Perspectives in Psychological Science, 8, 573–585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Greenberg, L. S., & Safran, J. D. (1987). Emotion in psychotherapy: Affect, cognition and the process of change (p. 2013). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  10. Hauke, G. (2013). Strategisch Behaviorale Therapie. Emotionale Überlebensstrategien – Werte – Embodiment. Heidelberg; New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  11. Hauke, G., & Dall’Occhio, M. (2013). Emotional Activation Therapy (EAT): Intense work with different emotions in a cognitive behavioral setting. European Psychotherapy, 11(1), 5–29.Google Scholar
  12. Hauke, G., & Dall’Occhio, M. (2015). Emotionale Aktivierungstherapie (EAT): Embodimenttechniken im Emotionalen Feld. Stuttgart: Schattauer.Google Scholar
  13. Hauke, G., Lohr, C., & Pietrzak, T. (2016). Moving the mind: Embodied cognition in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). European Psychotherapy, 2016/2017, 67–97.Google Scholar
  14. Kashdan, T. B., Barrett, L. F., & McKnight, P. E. (2015). Unpacking emotion differentiation: transforming unpleasant experience by perceiving distinctions in negativity. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24, 10–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Landy, D., Allen, C., & Zednik, C. (2014). A perceptual account of symbolic reasoning. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 275. Scholar
  16. Lindquist, K., & Barrett, L. F. (2008). Emotional complexity. In M. Lewis, J. M. Haviland-Jones, & L. F. Barrett (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (3rd ed., pp. 513–530). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  17. Lindquist, K. A., Gendron, M., Barrett, L. F., & Dickerson, B. C. (2014). Emotion perception, but not affect perception, is impaired with semantic memory loss. Emotion, 14, 375–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Philippot, P., Chapelle, C., & Blairy, S. (2002). Respiratory feedback in the generation of emotion. Cognition and Emotion, 16, 605–627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rotella, K. N., & Richeson, J. A. (2013). Body of guilt: Using embodied cognition to mitigate backlash to personal and ingroup wrongdoing. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 643–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rozin, P., Haidt, J., & McCauley, C. R. (2008). Disgust: The body and soul emotion in the 21st century. In B. O. Olatunji & D. McKay (Eds.), Disgust and its disorders (pp. 9–29). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  21. Scherer, K. R. (2005). What are emotions? And how can they be measured? Social Science Information, 44(4), 693–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sulz, S. (1994). Strategische Kurzzeittherapie: Effiziente Wege zur wirksamen Psychotherapie. München: CIP-Medien.Google Scholar
  23. Tracy, J. L., Robins, R. W., & Schriber, R. A. (2009). Development of a FACS-verified set of basic and self-conscious emotion expressions. Emotion, 9, 554–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Embodiment Resources Academy (ERA)MunichGermany

Personalised recommendations