How do you clear an emotional blockage?

The Clearing Process a great tool to use when a person finds they are holding some emotional ‘charge’ that is interfering with their life.

It could be anger, and/or sadness, shame, fear etc. that they find is getting in their way. It doesn’t matter which emotion, the process works on all.

This is something you can use it on yourself, a work colleague, or life partner.

For me, when I’m “Clear”, it gives me an insight during a conversation or heated argument. I might be angry, but the anger is proportional.

I could be sad, but the sadness isn’t extream.

You know those moments when you start to feel something bubbling up inside? Is it me? Is it them? What’s going on?

The Clearing Process provides an understanding or awareness and allows you to “own” your own stuff – i.e. take responsibility for what is part of your emotions and provides a safe space to give yourself distance from the other persons’ its their stuff.

The format is simple and follows these 5 steps:

  • Describe how you are feeling
  • What is the data / information? (no story!)
  • What are your judgements? (story time!)
  • What are the projections?
  • Insights / Learnings

Give yourself a good 20 – 40 minutes.


How do you feel?

Take a moment. Slow down! Really check in – how do you feel? Often a person will say “good” or “ok”, “I’m fine”. Try and dig a bit deeper. If necessary prompt them – “You don’t look fine, you look angry” or another great question is “are you sure, because it looks to me like you’re hiding something”

If they still struggle to provide a deeper answer, use one of the top five feelings: Anger, Sadness, Glad (or happy), Fear or Shame.

What is the data / information? The black & white facts, immediately before, during and after?

What is the data?
What is the data?

The “data” is just that. If you were an impartial, 3rd person, viewing the situation / interaction – what would you say? How would you describe it?

There’s a temptation to add judgments or validation. Don’t!

Use bullet points or steps if it helps:

  • Jim started talking to James
  • Jim said “xyz”
  • James raised his voice. Started getting angry
  • Jim said…

The purpose of this step is to separate the feelings (or emotions), the facts (what really happened) and the story.

If new feelings come up, go back to the previous step and clarify – how do you feel?

What are the judgements? What is the story?

What are the judgements?

Be prepared, by this point the person is ready to unload. Let them unload! Don’t be afraid to hold back. Go as deep as they want to.

Some questions that might prompt a deeper response:

  • What type of person would do that?
  • Are you sure? It feels like there’s more?
  • Is that all?

If you find them adding data or feelings – then stop! Go back, and get Clear. Repeat the question – How do you feel? What is the data?

Withdraw the projections

Own your projections
Own your projections

This can be tricky, so be patient. This is the key to a successful clearing so take you time.

According to Karen R. Koenig, psychotherapist, motivational speaker and author:

Projection is a way for people to feel better than or less bad. Maybe you hurt their feelings, so they say you’re mean which they are being in saying it. Maybe they secretly fear they’re not as good as you are. They’ll zero in on whatever your worst insecurity is and tell you about it in spades just to bring you down a peg and them up a notch (which shows their insecurity to anyone who’s looking).

Karen Koenig – Beware of your projections

Another way to word it:

You spot it, you got it

The qualities (good or bad) you see in other people, you have in yourself. Do you see anger, rage, love, sadness – where is that in you?

For example, take the following conversation:

Person: They’re a selfish, self centred person.

You: Go on

Person: They are creepy, patronising, rude

Where are you selfish? Where are you self centred?

There might be some resistance or deflection. This could be the first time they’ve taken the time to reflect on this aspect of their life, so be gentle. Be patient, but firm

Make sure you address each judgement. Where does this show up in your life?

Gratitude – what did you learn? (Insights / thoughts etc.)

By now, they could be “cooked”. I.e. a little brain fried or foggy. Transformational shifts like this can have significant, life changing impacts.

Ask them – what did they learn? If the answer was “nothing” then they either didn’t go deep enough on the judgements or they didn’t acknowledge their projections.

You don’t want an essay. One or two points is often sufficient. You’re after an acknowledgement of what they have done.

Thank them for their honesty and vulnerability. Only the truly brave are prepared to have an honest look at themself.

And that is the clearing process! Just remember to not rush it. You’ll be amazing!


Christian Payne is a technologist and entrepreneur with a passion for innovation. He has over 20 years of experience in engineering and product development across enterprise and consumer sectors. He has experience at both small start-ups and enterprise level generating +$2M per month. When he's not hard at work on his latest project, he spends his time involved in Men’s Support Groups, Leadership training and Mentoring.

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