This post was written by Carol Harris-Fike, a Newfield graduate of the Coaching for Personal & Professional Mastery program and a Newfield Program Mentor Coach.

Review of The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You, © 2010, by Karla McLaren

“Emotions—especially the dark and dishonored ones—hold a tremendous amount of energy,” writes Karla McLaren. Her experience as an empathetic counselor has supported her in developing a philosophy around how emotions have a language that can support us. In her book, she guides the reader through naming an emotion that is experienced and then finding the BRILLIANCE it holds. By brilliance, she is referring to uncovering the meaning and message of the emotion. The idea is that through this process we learn from our emotions and are better able to navigate life’s twists and turns.

I found the second half of her book very useful for ontological coaching. She explores in depth the language of more than 17 emotions. Each chapter explores the emotion’s gifts, internal questions, signs of obstruction, and offers a practice to help with the process.

In my experience, the most useful part of the book for ontological coaches is the possible questions that support finding the message of each emotion.  As ontological coaches, we know that the body, emotions, and language are connected and that we can use any of these as an entry point of discovery with ourselves or with our clients. I believe as coaches we can utilize McLaren’s process to our clients in allowing an emotion to be felt and explored for its value. It came for a reason… and with a message. The observer, your client, becomes may then see new possibilities for actions to reach their desired goals.


To find out more about ontological coaching and our coach training programs, visit this page here.

About the Author: 

Carol Harris-Fike, MA, PCC, NCOC, is a Newfield program and mentor coach and also Newfield’s ICF, ACTO, and Program Coach Coordinator. Areas of expertise include an understanding of the latest research in the science of the brain/body and extensive study of energy through Reiki and Qi Chong. Carol is the author of 5 Life Energies: The Choice You Have in How Energy Shapes Your Life. She co-created JICT Images: Journey with Intuition & Creativity for Transformation, a box of 72 evocative images designed to create a metaphor for users that lead groups and individuals to the “heart of the matter.”

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