Mrs Chilton
Head of Student Wellbeing

Book ReviewUntangling Emotions by Winston Smith and Alasdair Groves

Over the term break, I spent some time reading. I found the book Untangling Emotions, written by two counsellors, very helpful in understanding emotions and how we can engage with them well.

Here are a few key insights from the book that may help you to help your daughter navigate her emotions:

  • Emotions are central to what it means to be human. They are God-given and play a crucial role in our relationship with God and others. They are not to be avoided, ignored or ashamed of.
  • Emotions are an expression of what we value and love. Being able to identify what we love will help us to understand ourselves and our emotional reactions better. If we have a big emotional reaction to something (positive or negative), it will likely tell us something about what we love or care about (e.g. a person, success or our possessions).
  • We often feel many things at the same time as our emotions are complex. Sometimes we might not know right away what we are feeling or why we are feeling it.
  • It is important to engage with our emotions. Try and identify them, name them and then evaluate whether we have had a positive or negative reaction to the situation. This takes practice and time, and perhaps even the input of others or reflection and prayer.
  • Ignoring our emotions, suppressing them, or distracting ourselves from them (I see girls doing this with devices often) can be detrimental to our wellbeing.
  • Emotions occur in our body and can have an impact on us physiologically (e.g. tension, tiredness). Our bodies can signal to us that we are feeling something before we know that we are.


If your daughter is having trouble managing her emotions or is having strong emotional reactions, it is worth having a conversation with her (perhaps not right in the heat of the moment!) about why she is feeling this way and what this might be telling her about herself, what she values or her relationships with others.

If this is not a conversation she is willing to have with you, it is worth directing her towards her Year Coordinator or one of Meriden’s School Counsellors to unpack how she is feeling.

Emotions are essential to what it means to be human and they have so much to teach us about ourselves and those around us.