All feelings are OK

by Shirley Smith, M.S., CCC/SP

Goal: each participant understands that everyone has feelings. Feelings shouldn't be described as good or bad, but rather as comfortable or uncomfortable.

Participants will be able to identify a feeling as uncomfortable so that they can effect changes to "deal with it."

Materials: chalk board, large paper, overhead or some method to record students' input so that it is visible to the whole group.


1. Leader asks students to name feelings.

2. Recorder writes the feeling words on the board, grouping them in comfortable or uncomfortable sections of the board. (This grouping is not mentioned to the students, just done by the recorder.)

3. Leader asks, "Did you notice that some of these feelings are physical, for example, "headache," "stomach ache" etc. and some are emotional such as "like", "happy" etc. Give time for responses.

4. Leader asks, "Why do you think we have some of these physical feelings?" Give time for responses.

5. Leader guides students into understanding that we have physical feelings so that we can take better care of ourselves. Then the leader asks, "If we have a headache, what should we do?" Allow time for responses.

6. Leader summarizes responses, "When we have an uncomfortable feeling like a headache, we need to take care of it, rest, take medication, etc. If we have an uncomfortable feelings, like a headache does that make us bad?" Give time for responses.

7. Leader guides discussion helping students to realize that feelings are not "good" or "bad", they just "are." We all have many kinds of feelings. But when we have a feeling that we would rather not have then it is an "uncomfortable" feeling not a "bad" feeling, and when we have a feeling we like it is a "comfortable" feeling, but it does not make us "good" person, it makes us feel good.

any feeling, we are made to have all kinds of feelings. The leader might say something such as "We are not 'good' or 'bad' because of what we feel. We can feel anything we like. What we must control is our behavior. I cannot rip up someone's shirt because I hate the shirt. It is OK to hate the shirt. hating the shirt does not make me a bad person. I may not feel comfortable with a lot of hate, so I probably need to take care of myself. Maybe I could not look at the shirt, or talk to myself about how ugly it is or just say "who cares, just forget about it", but I am OK no matter what feelings I have. I just need to control my behavior and talk to someone so that I can take care of myself and not have a lot of uncomfortable feelings making me feel a way I don't to feel.

9. Allow students to give comments.

10. Summarize: Leader asks students to summarize what we have discussed about feelings. Students should be able to state the goal in their own words.


1. Draw a picture of a feeling, not necessarily something that has really happened. The picture could be on an event or it could be abstract.

2. Act out a feeling, maybe the one in the picture.

3. Group discusses appropriate ways to express feelings and act out situations. Note: an appropriate way to discuss feelings is the use of an "I statement". An "I statement" has three parts: "I feel ___", "when you give behavior", "because give reason".

For example, "I feel angry when you finish my sentence because I want to say it my way." "I feel frustrated when you tell me to slow down because telling me that does not help me and I feel like you are listening to how I am talking and not what I am saying."