For example, someone just lost their job, is in debt and needs to pay it back before tomorrow morning.
Then I hope they are anxious. If they weren't anxious I would be very concerned as a therapist.
My job is to help people function as a normal human being should. Emotions are very useful, they make us do stuff.
If someone is in a situation where they did something wrong they should feel guilty as that will push them to fix it.
If they need to do something to avoid an unpleasant outcome then they ought to feel anxious, that will push them to do it.
If they lost a relationship they ought to feel sad and lonely as that will push them to get on to another relationship.
It's when they feel guilty after they have done all they can to make it up, when they feel anxious and there is nothing they can do, they feel sad and lonely even when in a relationship, that is where we come into the picture.
It is also when the feeling they feel is disproportionate to the situation that we come into the picture.
Or another example would be a difficult decision that has 2 alternatives, both of which seem just as attractive. I.e. something that the therapist himself can't see a clear resolution to.
First off even if the therapist can see a clear resolution I would steer away from guiding them there (unless its very very obvious, for example if they are deciding to commit suicide).
If they have 2 equally attractive opportunities, whats the problem? Whatever they choose ought to be good as they are equally attractive. So long as the client can't figure it out and it is truly unclear, this situation poses no issue at all.
What I can help them with is if an emotion is blocking their ability to see the situation clearly.
Another issue might be anxiety/fear that they are picking the wrong choice. If they can do something about it, thats a good emotion to have. It will push them to research and figure out what to do.
If however they don't have perfect information, and they don't have the ability to get it, and they feel anxious anyways, that is a misplaced emotion. Anxiety says to do something, if one can't act and still feels anxious, that is an emotion that is acting out of place. That is something we can work on in therapy.