Mama Mia Two was an important event in my life so much so that my high school friends and I made a weekend of seeing it all together at our favorite hang out in high school Barton Creek Mall. During the Super Trouper song and dancing, I was reminded of a very important aspect of working with girls, young women and the families that support them. When I first learned of a super feeler at the Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) training in May, I could not help but sing Super Trouper in my head and replace it with Super Feeler? What is a super feeler? A super feeler is someone who has a keen sense for their environment and can sense and pick up on other’s emotions very easily. Sound familiar? It sure did to Lauren , Kelly and myself when were at the training, we looked at each other and whispered “ almost all of our clients are super feelers”.
Naturally this makes complete sense for teenage girls to be super feelers because between 13- 17 the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for emotions, is strengthening which leads to more emotional regulation.
Lauren from our Houston office has a great metaphor for the power of a super feeler. She states she often finds parents initially struggle to recognize the positive aspects of their daughter’s super-feeler status, considering that the shadow side of super-feeling is often the reason they are seeking help. I can certainly appreciate the struggle.
Typically, she says to parents, “Your daughter is the Ferrari of feelers,” which usually gets their attention. Ferraris are super fancy automobiles–they are bright red, turn heads, and if we’re being honest, dredge up a little bit of envy in us as we watch them speed by our own decidedly less fancy forms of transportation. And while no one would expect a novice driver to be born with the ability to masterfully drive a car with such sensitive pedals and gearshifts, we so frequently ask our children to do so with their own emotions. It takes a lot of learning and practice to develop the timing and skill necessary to pilot a Prancing Horse (and the super-feels), but when it all comes together, there are not many other cars on the road that can hold a candle to it.
Do you have a super feeler in your life, consider yourself lucky, they are some of the most powerful helping professionals in our world?
The number one resource for managing emotion with super feelers is learning how to be an emotional coach for your daughter. The first step in being an emotional coach is to manage your daughter’s environment, making sure that she takes needed time to “recharge”. Sometimes this means implementing some down time, no social media or just allow your daughter to be silient, listen to music in her room etc. For more on super feelers download this helpful handout.
If you are a helping professional and interested in learning more about EFFT, please click here. We will be hosting a training November!