#21 Beyond Feelings

SLC 21 Beyond Feelings WP

The world of feelings is vitally important to life and relationships. But what does current research and best practice tell us about how to understand them, and orient them for the best outcomes in our relationships?


Shawn Van der Linden (Bth, BSW, AMHSW)
CatholicPsych Institute: Master Mentor and International Programs Consultant
Managing Director: Altum Consulting and Counselling Pty Ltd

Shawn van der Linden has a background in clinical mental health counselling as an Accredited Social Worker, practising in Australia. Starting out his working life as a qualified carpenter, Shawn subsequently discerned consecrated life with the Missionaries of God’s Love (MGLs), which involved intensive years of spiritual formation and ministry, with time spent in Canberra, Melbourne, Darwin (Australia) and Manila (Philippines). After discerning his vocation to married life Shawn settled in Canberra and completed his theological, social work and family therapy studies, taking up leadership roles establishing men’s counselling services, and co-founding a national suicide prevention organization for construction industry workers.

Following this, Shawn served for nine years as Executive Director of Pastoral Support for the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, developing programs in areas relating to adult faith formation, parish pastoral care, youth ministry, marriage and family ministry and evangelization initiatives.

Shawn’s more recent roles have been as the CEO of the Conflict Resolution Service Inc, the National Manager of integrated workplace onsite counselling with a corporate psychology firm, and as the manager of student counselling and mental health services for a Catholic Education system of 56 schools.

Maintaining his clinical counselling practice with individuals throughout his career Shawn has developed a strong vision of the transformative value of suffering, and the unique role that psychotherapy can play in enabling genuine human flourishing through integration, where our psychological and emotional lives are deeply united with, and deeply affecting, our spiritual lives.

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The Take Home

Restorative Practice

A core aspect of Restorative Practices is the process of group conferencing—a structured dialogue where participants are encouraged to explore reflective questions directly with each other. The questions are simple but powerful:

  1. What happened?
  2. What were you thinking about at the time?
  3. What have you thought about since?
  4. Who else has been affected / impacted?
  5. What has been the hardest thing?
  6. What do we need to do to make it better?


John Paul II, Love and Responsibility – Tenderness 

“Tenderness is the ability to feel with and for the whole person, to feel even the most deeply hidden spiritual tremors, and always to have in mind the true good of that person. This is the sort of tenderness which a woman expects from a man, and she has a special right to it in marriage, in which she gives herself to a man, and goes through such extremely important periods in her life, such difficult experiences as pregnancy, childbirth, and all that goes with them. Moreover, her emotional life is generally richer than a man’s, and so her need for tenderness is greater. A man also has need of it, but to a different degree, and in a different form. Both in the woman and in the man tenderness creates a feeling of not being alone, a feeling that her or his whole life is equally the content of another and very dear person’s life. This conviction very greatly facilitates and reinforces their sense of unity.”

Bless you!

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Francine & Byron Pirola

Francine & Byron Pirola are the founders and principal authors of the SmartLoving series. They are passionate about living Catholic marriage to the full and helping couples reach their marital potential. They have been married since 1988 and have five children. Their articles may be reproduced for non commercial purposes with appropriate acknowledgement and back links. For Media Enquiries Please Contact us here

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