The Experience Triangle:

The Experience Triangle is a map and wellness tool that helps make sense of emotions. It is basically a guide to working with emotions, allowing you to shift you from a place of distress back to calm, and clarity. It was developed by Diana Fosha, Ph.D.

The Experience Triangle works by getting you re-acquainted with core emotions and through a step-by-step process making you feeling better. As a tool it is a catalyst for recovering a more vital, engaged, and authentic Self (calm, curious, connected, compassionate, confident, courageous, and clear).

Core Emotions:

Physical sensations recognized and named as a particular emotion (grief, sadness, fear, anger, joy, excitement, sexual excitement and disgust). They are hard-wired in the middle part of our brains, meaning they are not subject to conscious control and are triggered by the environment. If we get out of their way, their innate programming tells us what to do to live life resiliently. 

Inhibitory Emotions:

They are there (shame, anxiety and guilt) to block core emotions. They do this for two main reasons: 

  1. When core emotions are in conflict with what pleases others whom we need (parents, peers, and partners)
  2. When core emotions become too intense and our brain wants to shut them down to protect us from becoming emotionally overwhelmed.

Defenses

Anything we do to avoid feeling Core or Inhibitory emotions (depression, joking, sarcasm, too much “screen time,” criticizing, spacing out, procrastination, preoccupation, negative thinking, misguided aggression, working too much, over-exercising, over-eating, under-eating, cutting, sex, obsession, addiction, and many more).

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