Emotional detox: what is it and how do you do it?

Emotional detox
What is it and how are you?

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You’re actually doing pretty well, but are you still tired, sad or exhausted? That can be changed! The psychologist Laura Ritthaler developed Emotional Detox precisely for this purpose. Here she explains what it is.

Detoxify the soul. Sounds good at first. But what’s that all about?
Emotional Detox is a concept for the prophylaxis of imbalances that make us sick. It’s for people who need more than coaching and less than therapy.

Who will contact you?
Above all women between 30 and 60, including women entrepreneurs, doctors and lawyers. Successful, married, with children. You have a high number of strokes, but hardly any breaks to process internal processes. My parents took a nap every day. That was a stopper, so they could charge. Nobody takes that time anymore.

And how do I know if I need it?
I often hear from clients: “I’m actually fine, but I’m unhappy, tired, sad.” Others say, “I’m almost ashamed because I only have luxury problems.” The tiredness, the sadness, the shame – these are signs of a damaged emotional immune system. These sentences are warning signs: Something must happen here, otherwise exhaustion can lead to illness.

Negative feelings are a central point in your coaching. How come?
They indicate an unsatisfied need. They are important signals that want to be seen. We need them to see what’s going on right now. Anger is good. Grief is good. The better we look and feel, the fitter our emotional immune system is. Perceiving feelings, analyzing the needs behind them and acting, that is purely a matter of practice.

Anyone who comes to you will receive individual one-on-one coaching on the weekend. How does that go?
I clarify with the prospect whether her topic is even suitable. Eating disorders, depression and anxiety disorders all need therapy. In coaching, we strengthen the self-care muscles by looking with the client to see who she is and who she wants to be. We analyze drivers and internal critics, prioritize values, make a weekly or monthly plan in which me-time can occur.

Will they all get divorced afterwards or will they quit the job?
The changes are rather subtle. The clients often hear “You seem so sorted, what did you do?” You have completed self-training and developed a roadmap that takes your feelings and needs into account. Some reduce their working hours by one afternoon a week, others have a long postponed conversation.

And now you come:

  1. For three days, write down all the negative feelings you experience with the phrase “I am angry / sad / horrified …”. Also, make a note of what caused this feeling.
  2. Pick a feeling from the list that comes up particularly often.
  3. Ask yourself what personal need this feeling shows (freedom, autonomy, security …).
  4. Say to yourself for 21 days in the morning: “(First name), allow yourself to take care of your need for (personal need).”
  5. Enclose this need with your right hand and say, “I see you. I take care of you.” Feel yourself becoming calmer.

This article originally appeared in Guido issue No. 07/2020.