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When the Closet Bursts Open

By Sunitha Chandy, PsyD

Man starting at computer screen with expression of concern. When we're gripped by negative self-talk at work, it can freeze us in our tracks.

Most of us spend a lot of energy "holding it together" at work. We want to have the answers, be the fixer, and save the day.

But, if we spend all our energy shoving our big emotions into the proverbial closet, we'll reach those moments when enough is enough.

The closet bursts open.

When our big emotions (and the emotions of others) come tumbling out, our goal is to stay grounded, regulated, and calm. Only then can we effectively determine what we need to respond to.

In these tense moments, as leaders, we must do three things:

  1. Observe (notice what is happening outside our bodies)

  2. Listen (stay attuned to what is happening internally)

  3. Inquire (ask good questions about the most appropriate next steps)

Slowing down for this type of emotional work is difficult but necessary to become people-centered leaders. When leaders strengthen their emotional intelligence, organizations become safe places for individuals to bring their whole selves to their work, offering the best of their creativity, passion, and skill.

Even as mental health professionals, we're feeling it too. We're all worn out from "holding it together" the last few years. That's why now is the perfect time to invest in supporting your team's well-being. Take a look at our training catalog and book a live, therapist-led workshop for your team!

New 1-Hour Workshop: 3 Skills for Emotionally Intelligent Leadership

When things get tense, there are usually two responses - escalation or avoidance. But what would happen if we, as leaders, stepped into those messy moments with our teams and harnessed the tension to catalyze positive change?

Our newest workshop, 3 Skills for Emotionally Intelligent Leadership, will teach you to lead calmly and confidently through tense moments with your team. Training Details & Format

  • 1 Hour

  • Live Virtual Session

  • Unlimited Participants

Skills & Core Concepts Addressed

  • Coregulation

  • Soft Startups

  • Opposite Action


Let's talk about the hard stuff.

Artesian Collaborative is a mental health practice based in Chicago. We excel at guiding individuals and teams through tense and difficult topics - and helping them feel good about it.

Our therapists provide mental health counseling for individuals, couples, and families. Our team also leads corporate and community trainings in the areas of Stress Management, Diversity Equity & Inclusion, and Relational Leadership.


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