How to Help Clients Cope With Overwhelming Emotion

Psychotherapy Networker

Joan Klagsbrun on 3 simple Focusing techniques that really work


Intense emotion in the consulting room can leave some clients overwhelmed; others shut down. Either response can derail your session. Now here’s some help for getting therapy back on track and moving forward in real time.


In this video, Joan Klagsbrun—Focusing expert—demonstrates 3 simple techniques you can use with clients to help them restore a "right relationship" to their inner experience and then process the intense emotional feelings in an appropriate and manageable way.

Joan calls this process “befriending your emotions.” Watch her video now to learn techniques you can use the next time intense emotion comes into play in a session.


Joan Klagsbrun is a psychologist in private practice, an adjunct faculty member at Lesley University, and has been teaching Focusing internationally for more than 30 years. This clip is taken from her session in our challenging cases video course:

The Healing Power of Emotion
Learn how to harness the healing power of emotion. Among the skills and approaches they'll help you master are:




  • Using emotion to repair and rebuild bonds between partners

  • Understanding the physiology and psychobiology of intense emotion, including tears

  • Helping clients find language to talk about nonverbal states

  • Helping clients access and maximize positive emotional states

  • Applying a concrete step-by-step approach for bringing new dimensions of emotional exploration into your work

  • Shaping strong emotions to open up new perceptions, meaning, and ways of responding to your clients

  • Supporting strong emotions without being intrusive

  • Helping angry clients rewire their brains

  • Using your face, hands, and voice to bring enhanced vitality and heightened awareness to clients' feeling states


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Topic: Challenging Clients & Treatment Populations

Tags: emotion | psychologist | Rick Hanson | Susan Johnson | therapy

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1 Comment

Thursday, February 19, 2015 1:42:11 AM | posted by Perri
Awesome techniques. Excited to try these with clients. I do a lot of trauma work and clients report that the feelings are often "on top of them" and overwhelming. I can see the benefit of all of these techniques in shifting focus.