“Inside Out”: A Great Movie to Help with Emotional Identification

insideout Go See this Movie!

If you haven’t already done so, go see “Inside Out” because it’s a fantastic and accessible representation of how our emotions play into our everyday experiences individually and amongst each other.

Identifying Emotions Can Help Us Navigate the Emotional Health of Our Children & Families

“Inside Out” is the story of a family who moves from Minnesota to San Francisco and whose preteen daughter has a difficult time adjusting to her new school, new friends, and her new life.

Psychological research actually identifies Six Universal Emotions: Happy, Sad, Surprised, Afraid, Disgusted, Angry (although there is debate about combining some to create four recognized emotions instead). “Inside Out” does a great job making this research come to life.

This movie is funny while also being informative, and it doesn’t hold back with the hard stuff, like expressing sadness and experiencing depression.

American Culture Holds Us Back from Understanding Our Feelings

Our American Get-Up-and-Go culture really holds us back from acknowledging and talking about our underlying feelings. Even as I write that, I know some of you are rollin’ your eyes because you’re uncomfortable with just the thought of that “cheesy” word: feelings.

But it’s true!

Understanding our feelings is the backbone of navigating social, physical, and emotional trials. There are over half a million working Mental Health Professionals helping adults and children in the U.S. Someone’s keeping them in business. Maybe we’re all more open to seeking out help but just not talking about it with each other?

That’s why this movie was so eye-opening. It brought to light the fact that people of all ages struggle with how to appropriately deal with emotions and, instead, often stuff their feelings down deep inside until they burst out in unhealthy ways. It’s only when we recognize the underpinnings our emotional outburst that we can effectively deal with the real problems.

“Inside Out” is the first of its kind to showcase the importance of emotional identification. And it makes me feel pretty good to know that the kiddos I’m supporting are growing up in a generation that sees how important emotional learning is too.

Toys & Games to Help Your Child Learn to Identify Emotions

Current Emotional Response Visual Supports, Activities, and Products on the Market:

Feelings App
Expanding Expression Tool
All About Me Mirror Boards
MindWing Concepts
Social Thinking Books, Games, Posters
Feelings and Emotional Washable Dolls
How Are You Feeling Today Center

Know of any other good feelings apps or products that you like? Send ’em our way!

Christine Terry, J.D., is a Special Education Advocate & Founder of Terry Tutors. She created the One Wraparound Service for The Struggling Student, which includes Academic, Behavior, Special Education Advocacy, and School Placement services. Christine truly loves helping students realize their inner potential and the possibilities that await them: “To be a part of a student’s ‘ah ha’ moment is the best feeling in the world because I know I’m helping that student build foundational confidence that will lead to a successful path, not just in school but throughout life!”



I’ve been working with one of my Family Coaching students for a few months now and this past week it just all came together for him in the best kind of way.

When I started working with Zack (a cool name but not his real name) he had recently been suspended and before that was constantly in and out of the principal’s office. Like so many naturally bright kids his age, Zack was on and off ADHD meds, labeled a Behavior Problem in the classroom, and assumed the roles of both bully and victim mostly because it took him longer than his peers to decipher the social nuances of middle school friendships. The heavens must have parted because this week Zack initiated a conscious leap forward and it finally just all clicked! Of course there were many pieces of the puzzle that we had to put together to help him get back on track: homework consistency, sensory supports, executive function skills, social learning, collaboration between the school, the home, and support services, private tutoring, instituting structure at home and at school, appropriate classroom behavior and rapport with authority figures, and most importantly accepting the need for change and acting upon it with humility and grace. Now knowing that Zack can confidently continue to move forward though, no matter how big or small the steps, I find myself breathing a sigh of relief, exhaling while a smile effortlessly forms across my face. I know it sounds sappy but I am truly happy for his progress and that’s because I love what I do: helping others experience that “ah ha”, confidence-building moment. Those are the moments where I get a glimpse into the future and know everything is going to be okay for this child who was once lost in the system.

Happiness. I’m finding out that happiness should be the root of every calling, every profession. For a long time I was on the corporate track to success but it never quite fit. I couldn’t pinpoint what was missing and so like many I know I set my sights on that goal but it ended up placing me in an emotional conflict. It was only when I took a different path from my peers that I found the combination of happiness and success.

As you launch into the weekend, take a breath and think about the moments that really make you happy. Is it being on the playroom floor with your five-year-old while she colors outside the lines? Is it reading a good novel or the Sunday paper with your fingers gently wrapped around a fresh cup of coffee while the rest of your family is still sleeping? We need more of these quiet moments to figure out our own happiness. I can honestly tell you that I’m so glad I decided to stray from the pack and carve out my own piece of happiness.

Good Reads: a great book and blog on finding Your Joy and Your Happiness: The Happiness Project  and Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin

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And don’t forget to head on over to TerryTutors.com or give us a call at 310.254.0909 for more info about our Private Tutoring & Family Coaching services in the Greater Los Angeles area