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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Identifying Feelings


While practicing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I’ve encountered many instances of clients expressing their perceived inability to identify their feelings. By “feelings,” I’m referring to emotions and bodily sensations.


For instance, I may feel primary emotions relating to joy (happy), fear, anger, sorrow (sad), disgust, and surprise. Likewise, when thoughts and beliefs interplay with these emotions, I may feel pride, insecurity, threatened, lonely, revulsion, or startled, according to colloquial use of the term “feel.”


Likewise, I may feel rumbling in my stomach when hungry, pounding in my head with a headache, soreness in my back from an injury, tightness in my jaw when anxious, or tingling in my groin area when sexually aroused. These descriptors represent emotive and sensory feelings.


However, not always are people familiar with the feelings they experience. Therefore, I devote time in sessions with clients to provide psychoeducation related to the identification of feelings.


Accordingly, I frequently discourage misuse of feelings-based language. For instance, if a client says something like, “I feel like I know where you’re going with this question,” I highlight the misapplied term and provide a proper replacement for the word that takes the form of a thought, belief, or hunch – or derivatives of these terms (e.g., imagine).


This is because I maintain that the words we use matter. If a client can adequately describe a belief, emotion, or bodily sensation when in our session together, the individual can then properly identify feelings outside of our sessions.


Regarding this matter, page 86 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion invites REBT practitioners to assist clients with pinpointing their difficulty in identifying feelings. It’s my hope that this brief blogpost will also help you with knowing the difference between the phrases, “I feel 22,” and, “I imagine this how others experience the age of 22-years-old.”


If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.


As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.


At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!



Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW




BrainFrame. (n.d.). Emotion wheel [Image]. DLTK. Retrieved from

Dryden, W. and Neenan, M. (2003). The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion. Albert Ellis Institute. ISBN 0-917476-26-3. Library of Congress Control Number: 20031044378

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2024, January 1). Psychoeducation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, March 24). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

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