January 2, 2023

Podcast Episode 34: Dealing with Overwhelming Emotions with Jackie Schuld

Couple on date


Everyone has overwhelming emotions from time to time that impact their relationships. Learning to deal with overwhelming emotions can be helpful in terms of being able to get your needs met, but also in being able to have better communication with your partner. In this podcast episode, Elizabeth Polinsky interviews Jackie Schuld on dealing with overwhelming emotions in a marriage.


  • Dealing with emotions in a marriage
  • Why effectively dealing with emotions is especially important for military couples
  • How Jackie Schuld teaches her clients to deal with overwhelming emotions
  • Steps to identifying your needs beneath emotions:​
  • Tips for military couples dealing with overwhelming emotions

Introduction to Jackie Schuld

Jackie Schuld grew up as an Air Force brat and now works as an art therapist and mental health counselor. Her specialty is working with clients who have overwhelming thoughts and feelings. 

Individual mental health and the ability to deal with emotions is relevant to how people can navigate any of their discussions [as a couple]…..it’s directly tied to how someone can deal with their emotions.”

Elizabeth Polinsky

How emotions are related to marriage:

Emotions impact all of our relationships. A lot of times our emotions don’t have much to do with the other person. Someone may feel angry because they feel their spouse isn’t understanding them, but this may actually have more to do with their personal past of feeling misunderstood throughout their life. We all have stories from our past life experiences. Then partners can do something that unintentionally trigger a story that you believe that has actually been more a theme throughout your life. 

​Why effectively dealing with emotions is especially important for military couples:

There is so much lack of control in military life, and this is a very unique struggle and emotional experience that military couples face that civilian couples don’t face to the same extent. Many difficult feelings come up with that lack of control such as sadness, anger, anxiety, etc. Plus the frequency of overwhelming emotions is higher for military couples because they are constantly rotating through difficult emotions with the deployment cycle. 

Happy Soldier with Wife in Park

How Jackie Schuld teaches her clients to deal with overwhelming emotions

Jackie’s approach to emotions is that needs are beneath emotions. For example, a need for understanding, connection, safety, etc. This idea is based on Marshall Rosenberg’s non-violent communication. When we have a feeling, underneath it is a need in our life. It is usually something you value. If you are feeling happy it is because your need for connection or adventure is being met. If you feel angry, it might be because your need for justice or understanding is not being met. One goal in communicating is to be able to slow down to talk about underlying needs. Nonviolent communication is a theory of communication by Marshal Rosenberg If you want to learn more, you can check out his book called Nonviolent Communication. Check it our for some more techniques used in nonviolent communication.     It is important to recognize though that people are complex human beings and may have multiple emotion and multiple needs at the same time. ​

Steps to identifying your needs beneath emotions:

  1. Give yourself permission to feel your emotions. You can’t understand your own needs if you don’t allow yourself feel your feelings. You can do this through talking with someone, journaling, or expressing them through art in some way. 
  2. Start with the emotion that you feel the strongest–that is most charged. What was the incident that caused this feeling to come up?
  3. Ask yourself, what is the need that wasn’t being met in this situation? 
  4. Once you have identified the need, the goal is to return to your partner and express those needs through a specific request without judgement. You may have to brainstorm together on how to get the need met–especially if you and your partner have conflicting needs. 

​Examples of needs include: shelter, protection, understanding, being heard, solitude, rest. You can find a longer list of needs here

Tips & Take-Aways from Jackie Schuld

  • Sometimes you will have unmet needs that your partner cannot meet. Sometimes it takes brainstorming other ways to get those needs met.
  • If you try this, don’t start with judgement. You want to be as neutral as possible because you want them to be in a place where they can listen to you and not be in a defensive place. If you start with criticism, they will end up being defensive.
  • To avoid judgement, try to just state facts and not opinions. Avoid extreme statements like “always” or “never”.

Working with Jackie Schuld:

If your want to work with Jackie or if you just want to check out her free resources on nonviolent communication, check out her website at www.jackieschuld.com . 

Liz’s Useful Links: 

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Thanks for Listening!


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    About Author

    Elizabeth Polinsky is a Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist (EFT) providing EFT marriage counseling in the states of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Nevada. She also provides EFT training and supervision to therapists looking to become certified in EFT Couple Therapy. As a military spouse, she has a special passion for working with military and veteran couples, and is also the host of The Communicate & Connect Podcast for Military Relationships.


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