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“You’re scary.”

By Nirit Pisano, Ph.D.

“You’re scary.”

I smile as I weigh the meaning behind these words, noting the moment in which they were spoken and concocting various responses, ranging from delicately subtle to outrageously direct. I am on a standard video call with my Cognovi Labs team, pitching our Psychological AI to a potential pharmaceutical client, and I have just finished describing the imperative for anger – alongside other emotions – to empower patients, healthcare providers and caregivers toward action.

I feel a rush of empathy that this emotional material has been frightening, and recognize the jarring familiarity of engaging an intimidated audience. I have heard these words, or witnessed their effects, across situations. My psychotherapy practice welcomes individuals seeking to explore intrapsychic and interpersonal conflicts, yet patients often enter my (currently virtual) waiting room with a deep ambivalence about the process ahead. In our earliest interactions we task ourselves with the study of their whole self, including those unwanted parts that interfere with present functioning, and the persistent (albeit unconscious) mechanisms that maintain those very elements.

Corporate discussions of emotion may be less private, yet they are no less personal. Cognovi offers a technology that captures the condition of a company, product, mission or campaign, and points us to the emotional core of its operation, both currently and over time. We help clients develop emotional awareness, communication and transformation in order to strengthen their identity within themselves and the world. As such, the therapeutic benefits are profound and lasting, even if new and unexpected in this arena.

And so, as I round out two decades of immersion in psychology, I wholeheartedly agree. I am scary.

Emotions are scary.

It’s time to treat them as a guide to the individual and collective empowerment we all seek.


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