Can you feel and name your feelings?


When you talk about yourself and what you are experiencing, do you say 'I feel...' or do you more commonly say 'You feel...'?

It may sound a strange question, but it's an important one. It can be easy to become stuck in a pattern of perceiving ourselves from the outside, rather than directly experiencing what is happening through our own senses and body.

When this happens, we are likely to feel our feelings less strongly, or to feel a bit detached. This dissociation can be a useful safety mechanism, lessening emotional intensity and making life more bearable. It can make it less painful to get through difficult times.

However, feelings are there to be felt. They have a function. They are messages, viscerally indicating how we are responding to what is happening, or what has happened.  They let us know how we are doing.

If you hear yourself repeatedly saying 'you' when talking about yourself, see how it feels to change it to 'I'. Instead of 'you feel a bit silly' 'I feel a bit silly'. Sense what it is like to name your experience in the first person, to treat it as your own.

Sometimes this can help you to take more notice of your bodily wisdom, and to stand in your own perspective, noticing what you want and need. It can make asserting yourself and holding your ground in relationship come more naturally, and energise you through your sense of yourself.

If it is challenging to take your own perspective or to feel your emotions this directly, it may be helpful to talk to a psychotherapist. If you'd like support in sensing yourself more, then get in touch.

Fe has clinics in Durham on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. To make an appointment call 0191 3720318 or email

Go to the profile of Fe Robinson, Psychotherapist

Fe Robinson, Psychotherapist

I am here to help you thrive, whatever life brings. I offer Psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and Couples Counselling to clients based in Durham. I am UKCP Accredited and an EMDR Europe Practitioner, and offer Clinical Supervision to counsellors and psychotherapists locally. I have worked in private practice, the NHS, and in charitable organisations, with a wide range of clients and conditions.

No comments yet.