I “discovered” these nine core feelings after three years of data collection with my clients (presented at the 2010 Integral Theory Conference).  After I arranged them into this table their relationships and meanings became much clearer and this table became the foundation of the Bio-Emotive Framework, giving rise to the three-step sequence of emotional processing:

Interpersonal feelings elicit core feelings which in turn elicit emotions (and their behaviours)

The video series goes into detail about how and why these are such powerful words and yet ask a person how they are feeling and very few will actually come up with any of them (see cultural alexithymia).   If you want to get a sense of how potent they can be, try sitting quietly and saying “I feel X” (where X is one of the core feelings) out loud to yourself or a partner two or three time.  Go through all nine of them.  There is a good chance, particularly if you are a bit upset at the time, that one or more of the words will cause your body to reverberate, even just a little.  That is a sign that you are getting more emotionally activated and you should allow yourself to breath and feel that activation, allow it to get bigger, and pay attention to any memories or images that arise are you do.  If you are processing the sad side of the core feelings, let yourself cry if the feelings are strong enough.  If you are processing the happy side of the core feelings, let yourself smile and laugh, it’s good for you!


Survival emotions are anger and fear.  Notice that when you are threatened, the same feelings that would make you cry in an interpersonally safe context will make you angry or fearful.  Also of interest is that the two different core feelings on each side cause a single emotion but two different behaviours.   Again, the video series goes into a lot of detail on how to work with anger and fear so that you are not just coping with them, but actually releasing them from your system.

survival emotions

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