313 Pages
    by Routledge

    314 Pages
    by Routledge

    Emotions, rather than simply being the result of random or disordered biochemical processes, are adaptive mechanisms that are often overly relied upon as a function of basic learning processes. The Quest to Feel Good helps the reader understand that negative emotions serve a critical adaptive purpose that functions in relation to one’s ultimate desire for a felt-positive state. Paul Rasmussen addresses the role of emotions as adaptive components, in combination with cognitive and behavioral processes, to our overall orchestration of life. To this end, the therapist is directed to use a client’s negative affect as a means of guiding critical therapeutic conclusions and decisions. Rasmussen emphasizes an integration of the basic premises of Adlerian psychology with the evolutionary-imperative model presented by Theodore Millon (1990, 1999). This integration is used to explain the primacy of emotions in the manifestation of most clinical conditions. This critical integration and focus makes the volume important, necessary, and unique to mental health professionals. Case examples and illustrations are also offered throughout the text.

    Section I – Theoretical Foundation
    Chapter 1: Emotional Basics
    This chapter will include brief discussion of historical theories (e.g., James-Lange, Cannon-Bard, etc.) and the physiological basis of emotional expression (e.g., limbic system). Also included is discussion of the difference and relationship between, emotion, feeling states, mood and temperament. Emphasized in this chapter is the superordinate role of emotions in the evaluation of life. Further, the interdependence of emotions with cognitive processes and behavioral expressions is described. In this chapter I also offer some argument on the notion of “chemical imbalance,” a concept that has become very popular over the last two decades and is promoted in very large part by the medical community and drug industry (see Kiesler, 2000; Valenstein, 1998). This is an idea and controversy that will be revisited throughout the volume. A primary objective of this chapter is to identify the necessity of the subsequent theoretical integration and the benefit of the conceptual/treatment model presented.

    Chapter 2:  Adaptive Emotions
    In this chapter, the basic integration of the Adlerian and Evolutionary Model is presented. This integrated model is then used to describe why and how emotions are adaptive mechanisms felt in the service of direct and indirect survival objectives. Importantly, the distinction is made between immediate and optimal adaptiveness. The fact is that humans, similar to other organisms, are generally biased to immediate adaptations, which often compromises optimal adaptation. As an example, while depression is optimally maladaptive, it is an emotional reaction with considerable immediate benefit (see Gilbert, 2000). This will be described for each of the emotions highlighted in subsequent chapters. This foundation will create for the reader an understanding of how emotional reactions are critical to the accurate conceptualization of the client. By attending to the style of emotional reactivity, the therapist is able to understand the often misdirected or unrealistic desires and motives that are at the root of most clinical conditions. In this chapter, I will argue that in most cases, emotional disorders attributed to chemical imbalance are more accurately understood as adaptive reactions to life and circumstantial events that have become over-conditioned and contribute to a perpetuation of emotional problems. This chapter follows logically from Chapter 1 and sets the critical foundation for the subsequent section. 

    Section II – Validating Emotions
    Chapters 3 Validating Emotions
    In this chapter, emotions that provide life validation are described. These emotions include Love, Happiness, Joy, Contentment and Pride. The critical point in this chapter is that these are the feeling states that we strive for. This chapter will build on the foundation created earlier suggesting that the quality of our lives is defined by the opportunity to experience validating emotions.

    Section III – Compelling Emotions
    In this section, those emotions that compel adaptive actions are described. The section will be divided into several chapters, each describing a cluster of related emotions. The objective of each chapter is to describe how these emotions serve to compel adaptive actions necessary to alter circumstances such that validating feeling states can predominate.
    Chapter 4 – Fighting Emotions: Frustration, Anger and Rage
    Chapter 5 – Threat Emotions: Fear, Anxiety, Panic and Anguish
    Chapter 6 – Affiliation Emotions I: Shame, Embarrassment, Jealousy, Envy and Greed
    Chapter 7 – Affiliation Emotions II: Hurt, Sadness, Sorrow, Guilt and Resentment
    Chapter 8 – Distancing Emotions: Contempt, Disgust and Dread
    Chapter 9 – The Withdrawing Emotion: Depression

    Section IV – Case Conceptualization and Clinical Treatment
    Chapter 10 – The Emotional Orchestration
    In this chapter, the inter-relatedness of the various emotions is described. The critical point to this chapter is that there are rarely pure emotional expressions. More typical are combinations of feeling states that reflect the individual’s immediate orientation to life circumstances. This chapter will be replete with examples.
    Chapter 11 - Application of the Model
    This chapter describes how the proposed model can direct treatment. This chapter relies heavily on the Adlerian model of reorientation. It goes beyond the traditional Adlerian model by providing an evolutionary model for direct clinical reorientation. This chapter is also replete with case examples and clinical guidelines.


    Paul R. Rasmussen, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Psychology at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. He is the author of Personality Guided Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and coeditor of Competition: A Multidisciplinary Analysis. He has numerous other publications and is a Clinical Strategies and Contributing Review Editor for the Journal of Individual Psychology. In addition to his academic activities, he also maintains a private practice where he treats families and individuals.

    "This is one of those rare books written for professionals as well as everyone else who seeks happiness in their lives. Rasmussen’s genius lies in helping us understand the meaning and purpose of emotional response and adaptation. I predict that this will be a foundational work that will inspire psychological research, guide counselors and therapists through diagnosis and psychotherapy, and help everyone who reads it get their Z-Factor on." - James Robert Bitter, East Tennessee State University, USA; author, The Theory and Practice of Family Therapy and Counseling

    "While much has been written on the topic, this book is a brilliant contribution to the study of emotions. Some highlights include the section on the physiological foundations, which has an excellent section on neurotransmitters, biochemical imbalances, and the diathesis-stress interaction; Sections III and IV, which are helpful in describing clinical implications; and ‘Shortcuts to joy and happiness,’ a helpful antidote to an often stress-filled world." - Daniel Eckstein, PhD, Professor, Medical Psychology, Saba University School of Medicine, Saba, Dutch-Antilles, West Indies

    "Dr. Rasmussen has done a masterful job in addressing the power and purpose of ‘validating’ and ‘compelling’ emotions and how counselors and therapists can facilitate emotional reorientation with clients. Although based primarily from an Adlerian theoretical framework, Rasmussen draws from diverse theoretical and research literatures in a highly integrative manner, making this a valuable book for clinicians, regardless of their theoretical perspective." -  Richard E. Watts, PhD, Professor of Counseling; Director, Center for Research and Doctoral Studies in Counselor Education, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; Editor, Counseling and Values and the Journal of the Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling; Author, Interventions and Strategies in Counseling and Psychotherapy