concluding my review of Strasser’s book on emotions

Freddie Strasser makes an important distinction between reflective and unreflective emotions, challenging Sartre’s idea that all emotions are unreflective. As Strasser points out, from his experiences with his clients, there is a moment of emotional expression that appears as instantaneous, startling and non-aware. This may be followed by a more reflective experience of those emotions, which could be an opportunity to evaluate or better understand emotional experiences, with the price or benefit of getting a bit further away from a joyful or painful feeling. This brings to mind Heidegger’s suggestion that our emotional attunement (which describes the emotional aspects of our being-in-the-world) has ontological (existential) status, as part of our existential ‘givens’. In this way, and according to Heidegger, our emotional attunement is manifested in our ontic (day to day) level, through our everyday feelings.

It has been an easy, even joyful at times ride reading this book – it was particuralry inetersting to read Freddie Strasser’s explorations on some main emotions: anger, fear and anxiety, guilt, sadness, shame, and hate.

Leo Dolias

www.northlondoncounselling.com

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