Inside Out meets The Whole-Brain Child.

Inside Out meets The Whole-Brain Child.


I love Pixar. And its latest flick Inside Out is no exception. I’m a big feeler so it is no surprise that a movie where feelings are the protagonists is an instant hit.

Also Bing Bong. Ok, I won’t spoil it.

Besides the greatness of all things Pixar, I was fascinated with the way the human brain was broken down so that children and the rest of us without biology phds could understand.

It reminded me of the book The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J Siegel (md) and Tina Payne Bryson (phd). Although the book isn’t animated, it does include cartoons to illustrate the concepts and to share with kids.

The big idea in the book is integration. Integrating left and right brain. Integrating upstairs and downstairs brain. Integrating memory. Integrating integrating.

It’s all about helping us and our kids understand their emotions so that neither of us are ruled by them.

One of my favorite sections:

“What kids often need, especially when they experience strong emotions, is to have someone help them use their left brain to make sense of what’s going on – to put thing in order and to name these big scary right-brain feelings so they can deal with them effectively. This is what storytelling does: it allows us to understand ourselves and our world by using both our left and right hemispheres together. To tell a story that makes sense, the left brain must put things in order, using words and logic. The right brain contributes the bodily sensations, raw emotions, and personal memories, so we can see the whole picture and communicate our experience.”

It’s a very eloquent and scientific explanation for this very website – FosteringReal. I began writing in hopes that others would find what I shared helpful. But it has instead been helpful to me as my left brain uses words and logic and my right brain adds raw emotions and personal memories. As I grow to know myself and my experiences better.

Understanding our stories and our emotions doesn’t immediately give us control over them. But it does help us begin to name our feelings and their roots. To develop language together around what’s happening in our heads and hearts. To use our words.