Professional Development

16 - Self-awareness II
Mental presence is quite similar to the psychoanalytical notion of the observing ego, that is, the capacity I have to act while I observe myself, which enables the analyst - in this case, myself - to follow my own reactions to what I am doing. In the case of the psychoanalyst, the observing ego allows the analyst to follow his own reactions to what the patient is saying. In its highest level, this involves awareness of passionate or turbulent feelings and, in its lowest level, it is expressed as a slight detachment from experience or, in other words, to be aware of what is occurring instead of becoming involved with it. Imagine a person seated in a chair: the chair is the emotions, for your ability of standing up and observing the chair means you are able to feel a certain emotion at the same time as you perceive that you are feeling the emotion. Self-awareness is the basic emotional competency, the foundation for other emotional skills, such as emotional self-control, as we will see further on.