The CrossRoads Journal

Family Insights From the Inside Out

Many articles have been written exploring the science and accuracy behind Pixar’s emotions focused movie, Inside Out. As a therapist, I’m more interested in how we can use a tool such as this to help families develop a common, relaxed narrative around emotions.  In counseling, we recognize the value of going to “process” – talking about what’s happening in the moment between two people. Consider these post-movie discussion points to help you lay the groundwork for “going to process” next time you or a loved one is caught in a difficult emotion.

  • Of the four characters, what order are they usually in for you? Who comes up first, second, third, and so on”
  • Who is at the control panel right now?  If a different character was there, how would it change things?
  • How could we invite a different emotion to join us at the control panel?  Can you tell me about a memory that is a different color?
  • Let’s draw and label our islands and share them with each other.

Last night, I was getting angry with my husband about something trivial.  My six year old looked at me with a wry smile and said, “Mom, who do you think’s at the control panel right now?”  It seems this is going to be good for all of us!