The House Within – A fresh, innovative model to help people manage their emotions
Being able to manage your emotions is one of the strongest determinates of wellbeing in life.
The House Within is a fresh approach to understanding how our emotions work.
It is based on simple, familiar language, and a universal, visual image of a house. This house has 5 floors; a ground floor, upstairs and attic, a basement and cellar, which represent 5 different emotional states. We function differently on each of these floors. The ground floor is the floor which promotes optimal wellbeing.
Central to the model are concepts such as feeling stirred up and stirred down, spinning, snooping, recruiting, games, deliciousness, “economy of effort”, a spiral staircase, “a white dot on a bicycle tyre”, astronaut thinking and a “point of no return from which we must return”. Importantly, this model is dynamic reflecting the fluctuations of our emotional worlds.
The language used in The House Within is not medical or psychological. The model uses everyday language that contains within it what we need to do to change our mental state. For example, anxious feelings come under the phrase stirred up. If we are labelled as anxious we may not know what to do to relieve that state. However, the words stirred up imply within them that we need to get ourselves back to the ground floor. The House Within model contains key techniques to help someone restore ground floor functioning, but the visual image and language of being stirred up also contain within them what we need to do to feel better.
The House Within brings a whole new conceptualization of negative self talk, understanding it as a signpost indicating we are stirred up. It helps us to locate ourselves in the House and tells us what we need to do to get back to the ground floor. It encourages us to view our emotional state from outside it.
The House Within is very useful as a framework for helping couples. Often when two people come together to form a couple, they merge their separate Houses Within to create a single House Within. One partner lives in the upper floors of this merged house and the other takes up residence in the lower floors. The middle or ground floor which is the floor on which social relationships work best, is left vacant. Helping each member of the couple to develop a separate Houses Within and to focus on being on the ground floor of their House Within is the task of work with couples.
The House Within model has been trialled in clinical practice for the past 3 years and has been found to be readily understood, rapidly integrated, and effective in helping people manage their emotional states. Clients have referred to the model as emotional architecture. It gives people a structure in their emotional worlds where no structure was before.
The House Within is not a theory but rather a dynamic model representing a perspective which when utilised is effective for many people in a range of contexts.
About Pauline Pearson
Pauline Pearson is a mental health social worker and psychotherapist in private practice in Carlton, Melbourne , Australia.
Pauline has more than 20years experience in the field of mental health.
I have learned to listen well, and to help people think about their lives.
Originally, I completed a science degree and a social work qualification at the University of Melbourne. I majored in Psychology. I worked as a social worker in a range of community organisations and managed a large community counselling service for many years. When I began work in Carlton I was employed at the University of Melbourne Counselling Service and lectured for a time in the Bachelor of Social Work course. My interest in understanding people and our emotional worlds took me into the field of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis where I completed further professional development. Psychoanalysis has been and continues to be very helpful to me and is incorporated in the work I now offer through my private practice. Throughout my working life, I have explored ways to help people understand their emotional worlds. In recent years I have developed a model that I have found to be very useful to people in explaining how our emotions work and how we can better manage our emotions to have more fulfilling lives. The model is called The House Within.
Our emotional states have an impact on everything we do and it is my belief that understanding our emotional states and how to manage them, is the most important work we will ever do.