Inside out: Giving “The secret language of feelings” to today’s younger generation

By Brenda J Titus, BCH


The animated feature “Inside Out” from Disney/Pixar opened in theaters in the Summer of 2015, touching the hearts and minds of both adults and children. It has gone on to win awards and accolades, including both the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Feature Animated Film. As a hypnotist, I would award this film a MVP (Most Valuable Player) award, as it has quickly become a tool in my hypnosis practice for getting clients, especially children, to understand and talk about their feelings. In this article, I will share how I recently used the concepts within the movie to help a young client.

As a little bit of background for those who have not seen the movie, “Inside Out” features pre-teen Riley.  Riley has recently moved from Minnesota to San Francisco, and is struggling to adjust to her new life.  The majority of the film is told from the perspective of her feelings and is narrated by “Joy,” who would like to put the positive spin on everything.  Additional characters include Anger, Sadness, Disgust, and Fear.  The film takes places inside of Riley’s mind, featuring her control room, her memories, her dreamland, and the varying elements of her personality.

As a hypnotist, watching “Inside Out” becomes a true treat as the feelings come to life and as the screenplay explains how varying experiences get attached to certain feelings. Seeing these things come to life in such vivid imagery and so expertly told helps the hypnotist begin the process of explaining these concepts to our younger clients and their families as well! Now, rather than abstractly explaining these concepts in the form of a pretalk, many clients and their families are already front-loaded with this information. Since the movie has come out, I have made it a point to ask parents of young clients to watch the movie together and talk about it on a deeper level before they come to see me. Taken a step further, anytime I have clients who have children or who really resonate on a deep level with The Secret Language of Feelings or our Informed Child work, I highly recommend they watch the movie again as well.

In addition to helping with your pre-talk with child clients and their families, “Inside Out” provides an open door to your hypnosis techniques. Here are some ways that you can incorporate it into your sessions:

  • The movie provides an age appropriate avenue to help you get young clients to talk to you about their feelings. This gives you the opportunity to see which feelings are driving their behavior and opens the door to age regression. I recently did an “Inside Out” induction with a client, where I had him close his eyes and envision “Joy.” I had him tell me all about Joy in his life, and we “pushed the rewind button” where we went to a time in his past where he felt Joy, which he told me all about. We continued the session discussing other feelings like Fear, Anger and Disgust.  Not only did this help the client talk about his feelings, it provided insight into the cause of his problem so that we could start changing his behavior.
  • Since much of “Inside Out” takes places inside of the main character’s “control room,” this easily provides the background to do control room work with young clients, helping them make repairs or turn up or down any dials necessary, which is a common direct suggestion technique. With the same little boy that I mentioned earlier, we went to his control room and he was able to easily locate the buttons and knobs that needed repairing to help him resolve his issue.
  • While most of the movie takes place inside of Riley’s control room, the audience is given a peek inside of her mom and dad’s control rooms as well. In doing so, the viewer is able to see how one situation is viewed, experienced, and felt differently by each character. This provides a great way to help young clients understand misperceptions and also how different people may experience the same situation in different ways. They might literally feel it differently.  This helps you work with misperceptions issues with your clients as well as forgiveness work.


I hope that you have enjoyed hearing about this wonderful movie and how it can help you as a hypnotist. If you haven’t seen it, give yourself a treat and go check it out. If you have seen it, consider incorporating these techniques into your practice, especially with your younger clients. I’d love to hear other ways that you have found to incorporate these ideas into your practice.

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As a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, Brenda follows the NGH Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice
*Note : Results May Vary. Hypnosis results will vary from client to client.