Seeking The Corrective Emotional Experience

The concept of the "corrective emotional experience" is to encourage a client to re-experience previously unfavorable circumstances which he or she could not effectively process in the past, then, bring those conditions into the present in order to help set free the adverse influences of those circumstances. In the present, the client will be met with positive environmental and intrapsychic factors that were not present at the time of the traumatic experience (Alexander & French, 1946).

It is a courageous offering, on the part of a client, and the goal of my groups is to encourage group members to disclose previously inhibited strong burdensome feelings. One of these strong feelings is shame. Shame can burden an individual throughout his or her entire life, unless addressed. It is generally accepted in psychodynamic psy-chotherapies that feelings pave the road to discovery and that a "corrective emotional experience," can in effect change the original traumatic or painful experience a client previously had and provide in its place a new experience of acceptance and understanding. This new experience has the power to enhance personal growth and interpersonal relationships (Yalom, 1985).

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