Recognising different emotions

Counselling Children & Young People

Liam struggled to identify feelings

Recognising different emotions

I’d been working with 8-year-old Liam for 4 sessions and it became clear he was only fully aware of a few emotions. The main feelings he understood were anger and happiness. Beyond these, he had huge difficulty in recognising feelings in others, and communicating how he himself was feeling. This was causing misunderstandings in school with friends and at home.

We needed some common ground, and I identified a film we had both seen and were familiar with - ‘The Lion King’ - to use to help Liam recognise emotions.

Discussing different scenes from the film allowed Liam and I to look at the feelings the characters were experiencing.

All the different emotions discussed were then written down as a mind map by Liam.

Recognising emotions with the knowledge of the scene proved easier for Liam as he was comfortable enough within the counselling relationship to ask questions and gain clarity as we were both exploring the same movie and it wasn’t from his narrative.

Using a movie, book or story which is familiar to both the client and counsellor has worked very well for me to help clients recognise different emotions in the counselling room, and the aim if that this new understanding will find application outside of the counselling room too. It certainly helped Liam.

To protect confidentiality, all material here has been provided with consent, or has been disguised, adapted or several examples merged. Real names and pictures are not used

To protect confidentiality, all material here has been provided with consent, or has been disguised, adapted or several examples merged. Real names are not used.