Hi all! I hope you are all having a happy December! AND, I hope that you take a moment to reflect on what you have given to your clients this year… how you, in your most authentic and genuine way, have showed up for your clients and given them your best. What an amazing gift.

Ok, so back to our passionate endeavor… growing in EFT. 🙂 And I have a great tip for you this week. A simple way to explore, reflect, and/or encapsulate one partner’s side of the cycle is to use a brilliant and simple intervention—“Inside/Outside”—that I learned from EFT Trainer Jim Thomas (find him at the Colorado Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy; and at his private practice www.engagingtherapy.com). (I’m not sure if this intervention actually has a title, but if it doesn’t, this one certainly cuts to the chase!) “Inside/Outside” is a non-judgmental way to highlight that when our clients are in a negative cycle, what they are feeling on the inside (primary) is not what shows up on the outside (secondary), i.e. “On the inside you are feeling this; and on the outside it looks like this”. Using this intervention, you can explicitly—and so simply—describe one partner’s side of the negative cycle. Jim Thomas talks about how with each pass of this intervention, you often see/hear more ownership of their “outside” action and more depth and more willingness to share about the “inside”, primary feelings. You can use this in many ways:

To begin to explore the primary emotion underneath the action tendency/secondary emotion: “So Megan help me, when you shut down and walk away from Amy in these difficult moments, help me to understand what is happening on the inside. On the outside, it looks to Amy like you’ve ‘turned to stone’, but I’m guessing there is a lot happening on the inside.”

Or to explore the action tendency/secondary emotion: After bringing a partner down the elevator into primary emotion and staying with them there, you could ask them, “So Sara, when you are feeling so sad on the inside, so sad because of this disconnection with John… do you have a sense for what you do with that sadness? What do you show on the outside when you are feeling so sad on this inside?”

To explicitly link the primary emotion (inside) to the action tendency/secondary emotion (outside) on one partner’s side of the cycle:  Right Sara, so when you are feeling lonely and sad on the inside, and you worry that John will not want to hear about it, this is when you flare up to anger on the outside, yes?”

To set up an enactment about the link between the inside (primary) and the outside (secondary): “Megan can you turn to Amy and tell her that when on the inside you feel like you can’t get it right with her, and you get that sinking feeling that is so unbearable, on the outside — what Amy sees — is that you shut down, ‘turn to stone’?” 

To check in with the partner about a just-unpacked primary emotion that they never see: “Amy, we’ve talked about how you see and feel Megan’s shut down on the outside, and in those moments it feels like she’s ‘turned to stone’. Did you know that when she looks stony on the outside, often on the inside she has an unbearable sinking feeling that she just disappointed you?” 

So this week, play with some version of “Inside/Outside” and see how it feels to you!


  1. This is such a great and easy way to conceptualize this, to linking the behaviors and action tendencies to the underlying emotions! Love this – thanks to you and to Jim Thomas!

    Liked by 1 person

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