Emotions in Your Case


Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions, above, an extremely useful tool,  may be found at:


Anger and loathing are emotions that seldom, if ever, play well in the courtoom.  I believe that this is, at least in part, because these emotions are second- level feelings that do not reveal the authentic underlying feelings and are, therefore, perceived as disingenuous or offputting.

Anger, for instance, is often a reaction to pain or grief.  A party who manifests anger and loathing and other negative emotions in the courtroom does so at the risk of alienating or distancing the jury.  I have observed this in action.   The body-language of the jurors was impossible to mistake: when the party-witness was angry, they drew away; when polite and measured (in the face of harsh interrogation), they drew closer.

Try to explore joy, sadness, fear,and awe before yielding to rage and loathing. A jury will feel closer to a party coming to terms with loss, but positive, than a party who is angry and contemptuous, however understandable such negative feelings may be in the face of the injustice suffered.  

A positive stance is a healthier and happier for most parties.

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