Lieu / Hôte

Virtual event


In the hospital, and particularly in psychiatry, carers must "manage their emotions" and commit themselves "neither too much nor too little" to the therapeutic relationship. This injunction suggests that it would be perilous and unprofessional to get involved. Yet the emotional capacities of the carer are essential in the therapeutic relationship.

In psychiatry it is often necessary to resist and hold firm in the face of the intensity of some patients' emotional disturbances, and if there are emotions that are pleasant to share others strike carers. Suffering, fear, anger, guilt, sadness can generate counter-attitudes that are sometimes harmful and impact decisions. How to differentiate emotions, affects and feelings? What is their function? How can we recognise these experiences and ensure that they do not harm the relationship, the care, the patient and the carer himself or herself?

Emotions come in an infinite number of nuances that we must first accept to discover within ourselves. What alliance should be formed with a carer who locks up his or her affects or, conversely, absorbs the patient's emotions like a sponge? What can he do with his feelings and what do they teach him? How can this emotional work be shared?

In psychiatry, different approaches allow us to think about the involvement of the carer, among them the development of his emotional intelligence. How to improve this ability to identify one's own emotions, to express them in an adapted way and to use them in the best possible way? How can we modulate our emotions according to each situation? What measures can help the collective development of emotions?

DAY 1, 20 November 2020



At the heart of care, emotions are the very object of relational work. They arise from the encounter with the other person in psychological suffering, bear witness to the quality of the bond, and offer the carers "a resonance which enables them to reason". They combine several dimensions: psychological, biological, cultural and social, which colour the individual and collective emotional experience.

What is an emotion? How does it enable us to adapt to the environment? How can we differentiate it from a feeling, an affect and a mood?

In the relationship, the carer is often "involved" in an emotional process that confronts him or her with himself or herself. This involvement is so important that some authors speak of "therapeutic use of self". What is the nature of this involvement? What are its limits? How can the health care institution support this involvement?

What is an emotion?

Prof. David Sander, Director of the Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences (CISA Campus Biotech University of Geneva) and Director of the Laboratory for the Study of Emotion and Emotional Expression, Department of Psychology, University of Geneva.

This presentation aims to discuss the nature of emotion, its functions and its cerebral bases. We will briefly present, for reference, the main definitions and classifications of emotion, as well as the three major current theories, with a particular focus on the multi-componential approach to emotions (evaluation, expression, response of the peripheral nervous system, tendencies to act and feel). This will allow us to discuss as briefly as possible the articulation between emotion and other affective phenomena such as motivations, moods and feelings. Finally, we will look at the positive effects of emotion on many cognitive mechanisms such as attention, memory and decision-making.