Publication Date

Summer 2016

Document Type



Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


There is a compelling link between counselee symptoms and the developmentally based capacity to put authentic thoughts, feelings, and choices into words (Greenspan, 1997). When emotional safety and secure attachment are not available and “scaffolding” was not provided to support the development of these capacities, truth is still spoken, but at an undifferentiated, behavioral level, instead of clearly represented with words. Often the symptoms people come to counseling with are related to these undeveloped or constricted aspects of the self (Siegel, 2010). The ability to tolerate and regulate painful emotions is a highly complex skill that requires practice and discipline in the context of an attuning relationship (Siegel, 2011). For many who come to counseling, these complex skills can be learned in the context of the attuning relationship that we provide (Greenspan, 2007).

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Counseling Commons