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Tools for identifying and expressing emotions

Why is it important to identify and express emotions properly? 

Emotions provide important information about what is happening around us, how external events affect us and what they mean to us. Emotions also inform about the impact of internal events such as thoughts or physiological responses. Therefore, emotional responses to external or internal events are guides to our behavior, set us to behave in one way or another, tell us what to do depending on the emotion we are feeling. 


If we do not know how to properly identify the emotions we feel, it is very likely that we will have difficulty managing our feelings, reflecting on why we feel the way we do and what we need to do to change our emotional state. Therefore, it is very important that we know how to identify emotions properly and to observe to which thoughts they are related to, so that we can make decisions to manage our emotions and respond to the situation we are facing.


The skills to identify and express emotions need to be fostered in childhood so that children develop an emotional system that allows them to manage and handle emotions properly. However, sometimes, these skills have not been adequately developed during this stage of life and we see adults with difficulties in identifying, expressing and managing their emotions. Sometimes, people with these difficulties can only determine if they feel "good", "so so" or "bad", but they do not know how to identify exactly what emotion they are feeling. At other times, they are able to differentiate between basic emotions (such as joy, sadness, fear, anger, disgust, and surprise), but have difficulty being more specific with more complex emotional states.


I don’t feel good, how can I find out if I am depressed?

Depression manifests itself in many ways. Here you will find some of the typical signs of depression that are good to keep an eye on. When browsing the list, remember: You can easily have one or more of the signs without having a depression.

  • You feel depressed and sad: Some days are good; others are not good at all. That is how it is in life. It goes up and down. We are all hit by adversity and downturns: Boyfriend brakes up, you fail exams or lose your job. However, as a rule, we know well (deep down) that we will probably will be ok again - eventually.


With a depression, it is different. Here the sadness is experienced bottomless and endless. You feel that you cannot do anything to change things. Sometimes it is something specific that triggers a depression - for example, that you lose a person you loved very much. Other times, depression hits out of the blue without you knowing why.


How to help my child with dyslexia


With the return to school and the beginning of the new year, some parents may have received from the teachers the suspicion that your child has dyslexia. Other parents may already suspect it, due to the reading and writing errors that you saw your son or daughter commit, or because of the great difficulties that he or she presented in this area.



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Attached, written by psychologists Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel Heller, is an interesting self-help book that aims to bring the reader the latest advances in scientific research on how adults tend to form emotional bonds with their partners. 


The authors do a great job in conveying, in simple and understandable terms, the main scientific findings on attachment theory and its influence on adult relationships. 


Attachment theory explains the way in which we establish affective bonds with other people, especially with people close to us, based on the experiences with our parents or main caregivers during the first years of life. Through these experiences we learn basic notions of the functioning of relationships in terms of intimacy, security, care, dependence and autonomy. The way in which adults establish affective ties with their partners is similar to those established between parents and children. Therefore, these early experiences will end up forging our particular style of attachment; that is, the specific way in which we tend to relate affectively with other people. 

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Autism spectrum disorder, shortened as ASD, is a neurological condition that affects a person's learning abilities. Normally the signs begin to show, and consequently it is diagnosed, in childhood, and it’s one of the conditions that concern parents the most when they receive the news, as there is popularly a fairly limited or erroneous knowledge about the disorder due once again to the disinformation we have about it. In summary, ASD is a neurological condition that affects the ability of an individual to adequately relate to their environment, everything and everyone around them, people who suffer from it may have problems with communication, learning knowledge, noise discomfort, a wide variety of other issues, which is why a few years ago it started being called autism spectrum disorder, since the same condition created a great variety of problems depending on the person. In society, the information that we usually have about this condition, unless we know a family member or acquaintance who suffers from it, usually comes from famous movies and series, which usually generate myths and / or confusion about what it really is. A spectacular example of this is Barry Levison's famous movie Rain Man (1988), where actor Dustin Hoffman plays the role of a person with ASD and Savant syndrome (extraordinary abilities in a certain field such as memory or mathematics). But all these myths and exceptional cases do not allow us to know what people with this condition really are, and they can create fear, as we have already said, in people close to someone who is diagnosed.

Emotional validation: A fundamental need in childhood and adolescence.

I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but I was still small. The memory I am a bout to share happened definitely some years before my 10th birthday. I can’t remember exactly what had happened either or why I was upset, but I remember I was and I also remember that my inner turmoil had carried on for some days. By this point you must be wondering why I’ve chosen to tell a story which facts I do not seem to have in a straightforward manner. The answer is simple: because I remember how I felt.

Let´s go back to the story. As a result of my sadness, I spoke to one of the significant adults in my life about whatever it was that was occurring. Their answer -slight grunt included- went somewhere along the lines of “well, this can´t continue, something needs to be done and we need you to help us out with it”. I distinctly remember the tone of voice in which this was said to me and the expression on the person´s face, maybe the words weren’t exactly as I phrased them here, but I vividly remember the emotional tone of the whole interaction. One could argue the message in itself was good because after all, the adult in question was letting me know they were going to help me, but I remember feeling tense, worried and a little overwhelmed. I thought to myself “uh oh, this person is stressed and worried now and its because of me”. Having thought about this scene several times and years after, I was able to clarify something I was experiencing and didn’t quite know how to  articulate at the time my foggy memory occurred: I felt as if there was a sense of urgency being conveyed to me, as if I need to “get well fast”, but no such words where actually used. It was as if there was no space for what I was feeling, and even though I know that this adult was well intentioned and that I mattered to them, this action-oriented problem-solving approach was short of a very crucial step that should have preceded it: emotional validation 

A book recommendation by Ines Zulueta: Hyperfocus, by Chris Bailey

For all of us who struggle to focus on difficult, important projects for extended periods of time, suffer when taking too long to complete boring, repetitive tasks; or feel we are not using our time in the way we wished, the book Hyperfocus has arrived to alleviate our burden and worry.

In a time when our attentional resources are continuously being swamped by an overwhelming flow of information, calls, emails, messages and images coming out of every single one of our electrical devices; the ability to focus on an activity without getting distracted by something else, or the capacity to resist the temptation of constantly changing between different tasks, is frequently depleted.


With an easy and entertaining prose, the Canadian productivity expert Chris Bailey guides us through the fascinating universe of human attention, helping us understand why making an adequate use of our attentional resources proves to be such a challenge. 

Teleworking Challenges & Children

From March 11, when the provinces in Spain were confined, our lives changed radically over the next few months. A new way of working emerged with the support of technology. The teleworking that has been implemented for a couple of years gained a greater boom, becoming the new way of working.

On the other hand, homeschooling has become a new strategy for bringing education closer to children. In addition, to provide the usual comfort, our houses became offices and outpatient schools during confinement. The internet and new technologies were fundamental sources of socialization, as well as balconies and terraces the ingenious way of communicating with our neighbours, exercising, applauding the health workers and contributing with our posters to provide moral support to all those who were fighting in the front row against the pandemic.

With the passing of the days, we have adapted to a new normal that has put our limits to the test, showing us that human beings have the skills to adjust to the different obstacles they face. 


Most people, at some point in their lives, find themselves in a situation where a problem arises that they cannot solve on their own, be it sleep problems, problems with their partner, grief, handling of emotions, or any problem that causes them significant discomfort in their lives that makes them need professional assistance to be able to solve it and they decide to seek psychological help. In this situation, some of the first questions that should arise are: What do I need to consider when looking for a good professional? What requirements should I consider ensuring that the help provided by my therapist will be beneficial to me? The answers to these questions, and many others, are usually unknown to the general population that does not have contact with psychotherapy, and even to people who are already in therapy, and therefore I will try to give some guidelines in this article on how to choose a good therapist starting by describing the basic requirements and ending with some less intuitive questions, all of them can be grouped into 3 criteria summarized below:

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Healthy Boundaries

This pandemic has been a global life-changing scenario: grieving unexpected losses, managing worry regarding financial instability, learning to balance work time and family time. This has triggered a lot of reflection in the news questioning the lifestyles we have been carrying until now. If you've been living abroad for some time, far away from your family of origin, you might have found yourself missing your family and friends back home and thinking again about your choice of living abroad. In my sessions with my expat clients, I frequently see them struggling to make peace with their decision to stay abroad. In the current world-wide crisis, that choice can feel more substantial than ever. Nobody wants to feel like they are leaving their loved ones behind. Neither we want to feel obligated to connect and reach out when the nature of our bond is complicated. 

Emotional trauma and its components

Trauma is an emotional response to an event. Traumatic events include physical, psychological and sexual abuse, terrorism and war, accidents, witnessing a life-threatening event or violence against others or yourself, natural disasters and domestic violence. Even having a childhood with no support or warmth can create a trauma in some people.

Short-term reactions include flashbacks, shock and denial, and long-term reactions may

include flashbacks, mood swings and symptoms like nightmares, insomnia, somatic disturbances, difficulty with intimate relationships, loss of trust, depression, substance abuse problems, or even suicidal behaviours. Survivors often wait years to receive help while others never receive treatment at all.

After Life: A learning medium to help understand what happens to people who suffer from depression

 Depression, this word is associated with a lot of meanings that we’ve learnt according to the popular meaning of it in our society. The most popular notion that we all have is probably a sad person (be it for something specific or general) who spends the day in bed without being able to do anything due to a lack of energy, and that is how most of us have been sold the disorder through popular series and movies of our time. There is a reason why depression is the most popularly known mental disorder and it’s that at some point in life we ​​all have a passing episode of it, a period of time where we feel without energy, without the desire to do anything, and with a general sadness about everything or even a lack of emotions in general. But the truth is that depression encompasses many more things, and the fact of making it a popularly known phenomenon has also generated a large number of myths about it, myths such as depression is just a lack of desire, that over time the person who suffers it overcomes it without help, that depression appears because something bad has happened to us or that we can always see when a person is depressed. The truth is that none of this is totally true, depression englobes many different behavioural patterns and it is more common to find two completely different cases than are the same, even if it is the same disorder. 

Your Psychologist with you: Therapeutic accompaniment

By Tommy Norheim, psychologist on the SINEWS clinical team. Tommy has extensive experience in the field of home care for patients with severe mental illness in his country of origin, Norway, and later during his internship in the Master in General Health Psychology at SINEWS.

In our present, in the age of information, the existing figures in the health area are well known to the entire population, figures such as professionals in medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, psychology, assistants of different types, etc. But even with the enormous amount of information we have about these experts, there are still some that are not as well known, and in this article I will try to shed light on one of them that, in my opinion, is still not completely known, specifically that of the therapeutic companion, the functions it performs and how it is done from the area of ​​psychology.

What not to say when you don’t know what to say

“I don’t know what to say to her.” At 37 years of age Patricia’s best friend was dying of cancer. Patricia stayed at her bedside in the hospital during her last days. The shared moments were limited to short interactions and gestures of care in silence, just sporadically interrupted by the visits of family, nurses and the oncologist.

Patricia wanted to do the right thing and be there for her friend. She was trying to find her voice in a situation that left her speechless. Between the sadness and anger caused by losing her friend way too soon Patricia asked the questions that we would all have: What to say, when you don’t know what to say.

Diary of a Global Therapist: Third Entry

It is 5 pm in Madrid and 10 am in the United States city where the person with whom I have a session today is. It's my "tea time" and her morning coffee.

Today's session is a follow-up session with an employee of a multinational company in the Gas & Oil sector, she is an expatriate in this American city and today's session is not so simple.

Mrs. X has been going through a difficult emotional situation for months but it was three weeks ago when she summoned up the courage to ask for help and that is why we are here today, in our third session together.

Mrs. X arrived more than a year ago at her new destination; she was traveling alone since after two months her partner with whom she had a relationship for 5 years would join her.


How to handle Procrastination in the midst of a Pandemic

You might have heard the term “procrastination" before, and it is likely you might have experienced it more than once. The definition of the word is: deciding to delay or not complete a task for no valid reason despite the negative consequences of doing so. Making time for doing something of more importance or urgent than the task we are delaying, would not be considered procrastinating. Neither would be making time for an unforeseen event. We procrastinate when there is no good reason to delay the action.

The procrastination cycle has the following steps: I face a task that generates discomfort or negative feelings (I don’t feel like doing it, it’s frustrating, boring, difficult, makes me anxious…) à I try to avoid that discomfort by engaging in another pleasurable task or postponing my goal à I immediately feel better à I face negative consequences long term.

Diary of a Global Therapist: Second Entry


Madrid, 4 pm

After a morning with interviews prior to expatriation processes and writing the corresponding corporate reports and recommendations, my afternoon begins again on the Sinews-online platform. 

I have a follow-up session with an employee of a multinational in the Oil & Gas sector.

Stress and Immune System: Protect your Immune System through your Thoughts



As a result of the Covid-19 crisis and the strategies put in place by governments for the sake of their control, the population is pushed to live a situation until a few days before. The novelty of this context can lead us to feel emotions that have not been experienced until now or at least not with such intensity, which are only the result of how we are thinking and interpreting everything we are experiencing: the information we hear every day; the idea of ​​touching something that could contaminate us; think about the subsequent contagion to third parties (family and friends); the anticipations we make about the impact on our work or the symptoms that we can notice in our body, etc.

Diary of a Global Therapist

Madrid, 9 am

Today I start my morning by connecting through the Sinews Online platform with an employee of a multinational  company who is going to be an expatriate in northern Norway.

As usual, the interview begins with our respective presentations and exploring where in his professional career this assignment to the international mobility program arrives and what his expectations are. Right there the routine ends.

Literacy development and identifying bilingual children with difficulties

Each person has a particular rate of growth and development. The area of literacy (the process of learning to read and write) does not escape this determination. Each child has their own learning speed and this can vary even more in bilingual children.

Detecting the difficulties that an individual may present in this area early and effectively through an early evaluation can represent a significant improvement for the well-being of the person. For these reasons, diagnosis, evaluation and treatment can be decisive in the development of children.

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