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Is the Change Triangle for self-help or psychotherapy?


Both! The Change Triangle is a universal tool to understand and work with emotions in the body and mind in ways that lead to increased calm, confidence, connection, clarity, and authentic living.


Working with emotions means we learn knowledge and skills to make space for emotions, as they contain important data that we all need. Experiencing emotions in safe ways as the Change Triangle teaches means we don't automatically avoid, bury or suppress emotions, which leads to greater anxiety, depressive symptoms, and poorer health and wellbeing. Additionally, working with emotions does not mean giving permission to "act out" emotions in destructive behaviors or to wear emotions on our sleeve or as an excuse to demonstrate inappropriate emotional displays. Working with emotions is an entirely internal practice that brings back a much needed balance between mind and body, head and heart, and feeling and thinking. 


Here are several ways to engage/use the Change Triangle:


Level 1: Purely intellectual interest and education. This person reads the Change Triangle book (It's Not Always Depression) and takes the Emotions Education 101 class to learn the Change Triangle for an intellectual understanding of emotions for self and others. 


Level 2: Use as a self-help tool. This person reads the book, practices exercises in the book, works the Change Triangle in every day life as a mindfulness practice of emotions. Tries to identify defenses, calm anxiety, transform shame and guilt, an experience their core emotions in daily life. Makes use of experiential processing as demonstrated in this video:


Level 3: Use to process old wounds. This person engages the same as level 2 but tries to connect and process current triggers with awareness of past traumas and childhood experiences. Tries to use parts to identify childhood emotions triggered in present. Here’s an autobiographical example of what this looks like in action:


Level 4: For use in psychotherapy and counseling. This person brings the Change Triangle book to therapist or finds an AEDP or other type of experiential  psychotherapist to help them work on stuck areas or emotions too scary to process alone or persistent symptoms that require therapy to overcome. What this looks like is demonstrated in the stories in the It's Not Always Depression. 


Just seeing the Change Triangle and understanding the basics of core emotions, inhibitory emotions, defenses, and the openhearted state of the authentic self can be a huge help in self-understanding and self-awareness and feeling better about oneself. It’s the beginning of a life long journey towards emotional health if one wants it to be. That is the purpose of the book and the EE 101 classes. 

What is the Emotions Education 101 live and interactive group class on Zoom?


These classes allow people to more deeply understand the Change Triangle and practice working it. The group experience allows participants to feel what it is like to share a common language of emotions with others.


These classes are offered  in an 8-week format and a weekend format. Both classes teach the same information. The class has 8 modules that, by the end, takes a person through each corner of the Change Triangle to land in the openhearted state of the authentic self. 

The 8-week format meets once a week for 8 consecutive Mondays at 5:30 to 7 PM ET. The weekend class meets from 11 AM to 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday.


All people are welcome who are 18 years old and older. All people from all countries around the world are welcome. The class is taught in English. 

Can families, friends, and colleagues take the Emotions Education 101 course together?

Yes! In fact, this is a great way to have a common language to talk about emotions together. Relationships improve when we cultivate curiosity in others in combination with emotional understanding.

What is the Emotions Education 101 Turnkey Curriculum?

We, AEDP psychotherapists and educators, Heather Sanford, LCSW, MPA and Hilary Jacobs Hendel, LCSW, author of It's Not Aways Depression (Random House and Penguin UK), developed this curriculum because we believe emotions education should be basic education for all starting in high school. 

We wanted to make it easy for anyone to share this information in their community, agency, hospital, workplace, coaching practice, counseling practice, psychotherapy practice, or school.

The curriculum is both didactic and experiential. We believe emotions education has to be experiential because we cannot think our way through emotions, they have to be experienced. But this needs to be done gently and safely to give people a good experience, not one that further isolates them or their emotions.

What happens in an experiential class?

First and foremost, we get out of our heads and into our bodies. We practice together in a gentle and compassionate, non-judgmental space, to be with our emotions, noticing the sensations and impulses they create. We learn tools and techniques to build a deep tolerance to emotions as they happen in the present moment. This benefits our lives in a whole host of ways including easing anxiety and depression, diminishing triggers, making wiser decisions, having better impulse control, engaging in more peaceful and connected relationships.

What is the Train the Trainer Workshop?

The Train the Trainer Workshop teaches future facilitators of the Emotions Education 101 Turnkey Curriculum how to run these groups themselves.


What is a curriculum license?

Each curriculum license means that you (or one person) can use it to teach the Emotions Education 101 course to others. You will be provided a link to a dropbox with all the contents of the curriculum, including videos and exercises - everything you need to teach the course upon purchase of a license! You can teach the course to others in person or remotely. You can teach modify the curriculum for your populations as long as the integrity of the content remains intact. for example, you can chose selected modules, increase the length of the classes, omit exercises, and add more time for discussion. 


Do I need to be a therapist to run these classes?

No! The whole idea is that we believe this is a teachable course for anyone to facilitate as long as they can hold a safe and slowed-down space for people to reflect. The Train the Trainer will help people build confidence that they can facilitate the course by the practice you’ll get on creating the right space and more.


Can anyone join the classes?

People from all over the world our welcome. Below is a 

Time Zone Calculator:


Will the Train the Trainer Workshop help my work with individuals?

The Train the Trainer workshop teaches the stance required to facilitate the Emotions Education 101 class. This includes helping people slow down, notice their internal world, and process emotions. The stance of the facilitator requires a non-judgmental attitude, the ability to slow-down the participants and pace, and an ability to tolerate long pauses, and being authentic and affirming of others. 


What’s the Difference Between the EE 101 8-week and EE 101 Weekend classes?

There is no difference in the content of the two EE 101 classes (weekend and 8-week formats) but the weekend class is best for those who want a more intimate experience as we limit the class to 20 participants. The 8-week class is larger but we use breakout rooms for the experiential exercises for a more intimate experience.


What Does the Train the Trainer Workshop Include?

The 4-hour Train the Trainer workshop includes the full turnkey curriculum for one user. This does not include the Emotions Education 101 class.

What is the Difference Between the Free 12-Class Curriculum and the Emotions Education 101 Turnkey Curriculum?

The free 12-class curriculum is “lighter” version which provides a nice introduction to emotions and the Change Triangle tool. 


The transformational power of the 8-module Turnkey Curriculum is driven by the experiential exercises. We designed these to be gentle yet to help people take that brave dive into noticing emotions in the body. This curriculum comes with videos of Heather Sanford, LCSW and I doing the actual teaching and reading of the exercises for the group to follow along. Or the videos can serve to teach the facilitator, you, how we teach. You can use the curriculum flexibly to suit your time and clients needs. 

As a seasoned facilitator, you may want to use the PowerPoint slides in the turnkey curriculum to teach it yourself and you may want to read the exercises with the scripts we provide in the written curriculum book. There’s also a training manual. 

When you make the purchase, you are sent a link to a Dropbox where you can then download the materials included. 

Here's what is included (copied from the webpage linked below):

  • The Training Manual PDF (to instruct facilitators).

  • The EE 101 Curriculum PDF with lesson plans for each class followed by the exercise scripts and PowerPoint slides with teaching notes for each slide.

  • Eight individual class folders containing three videos of Hilary Jacobs Hendel, LCSW and Heather Sanford, LCSW teaching the daily PowerPoint lesson, opening exercise, and discussion exercise. (The videos are meant for people who may not wish to do the actual teaching portion as well as those who would like to use our teaching as a guide to inform their own.)

  • The full PowerPoint and Keynote slide decks for teaching.

  • PDF of the slides as handouts for participants.

  • The one-page consolidated homework sheet for participants.


Please also obtain a copy of the book It’s Not Always Depression prior to the beginning of the course.


Questions? Requests? Contact Heather Sanford at or Hilary Jacobs Hendel at

Train the Trainer workshop:

Want us to train your organization to run these classes? Visit the Train the Trainer webpage here to learn more. For questions, contact Heather Sanford at or Hilary Jacobs Hendel at

EE 101 Turnkey Curriculum

Want to purchase the Emotions Education 101 Turnkey Curriculum? Visit here to learn more. For questions, contact Heather Sanford at or Hilary Jacobs Hendel at

Meet Your Facilitators:

Hilary Jacobs Hendel, LCSW, is the author of the award-winning book, It’s Not Always Depression: Working the Change Triangle to Listen to the Body, Discover Core Emotions, and Connect to Your Authentic Self (Random House & Penguin UK) based on her work as an AEDP therapist. She received her BA in biochemistry from Wesleyan University and an MSW from Fordham University. She is a certified psychoanalyst and AEDP psychotherapist and supervisor. She has published articles in The New York Times, Time, Oprah, and other major media outlets. Her blog "the Change Triangle" is read worldwide. Hilary is the co-developer of the Emotions Education 101 Curriculum and Turnkey Program.


Heather Sanford, LCSW, MPA, is the co-developer and lead facilitator of the Emotions Education 101 curriculum. Heather received her MPA and MSW degrees from Cornell and Binghamton Universities.  She has taught Emotions Education 101 in community mental health agencies as well as in private practice. She is a licensed AEDP psychotherapist.  She specializes in group work and individual sessions with LGBTQ + teens. Heather is the co-developer of the Emotions Education 101 Curriculum and Turnkey Program.



"The Emotions 101 Course that I took with you, exceeded my expectation on how helpful it was. Personally, I felt and feel more embodied and calmer.  And the Course helped my confidence in assisting people with understanding and experiencing their emotions in their body, in the moment.  This was huge for my Couples Workshop which involves learning to talk with each other about their most vulnerable feelings in their relationships. Additionally, people I teach it to have consistently found the Change Triangle very powerful in helping them understand emotions and defenses. Thank you both for the excellent, valuable work that you are doing!"
-Diana Weiss-Wisdom, Ph.D., 
Certified Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist

“I knew the class would be good, but I had no clue just how good. It's been outstanding and a pleasure and a joy. The epiphany that it was my authentic self that I was missing after today's first exercise was an enormous relief. Thank you!”

-Debbie Fray, Valparaiso, IN

"After 20 years of on and off therapy, and a lot of bibliotherapy in the last year and a half (I've read about 50 books on this subject since the beginning of 2020), I have to say that that this course (and Hilary's book) were what helped me the most. The Change Triangle is a compassionate map that helps you identify where you are in the present moment and helps you predict how you might feel as you start to heal, so that nothing is shocking or surprising and you feel a sense of pride and ownership throughout the process. By meeting weekly to learn more about how this all works, and to practice feeling emotions in the presence of others in the group, I have seen a significant improvement in my ability to trust others as well as myself. I wish I had been introduced to this empowering content earlier in my life, so I am doing my best to educate parents and teachers about your work so that they can hopefully pass on the benefit to their children."

Anne Kubitsky,

“Thank you for such a wonderful and meaningful experience.  This class was truly one of the best things I have done in my training to be a therapist (and probably to be a person in the world too!). I love how simple yet profound the lessons are and have been trying to incorporate them into my work and life.  You both and the other trainers brought a lovely grounded warmth and professionalism to the experience.  I will certainly recommend it to others (and do further training in AEDP!).”

-Linda Siegel, Class Participant

"I'm very much enjoying and getting a lot from this course ladies, thank you. The container you have created offers an open and sharing space for folks to come together with intention to better understand, and be with, ourselves; complex emotions and all that comes with having a beating heart. I've loved the psycho-education and the need to 'not fix' rather 'be with' myself... and what's happening inside. Participants' willingness to be vulnerable, and to share openly, has been so helpful in acknowledging 'me too', and feeling understood. Beyond class, I'm slowly showing up for myself in deeper awareness, more subtle and gentle ways too. I feel that I'm cultivating a more intimate level of 'emotional awareness' within, the good and the not-so-good, and am finding I'm less judgemental of myself in it all. A lifetimes' work. Thank You for creating and -so helpfully- facilitating this active learning group." 

-Fiona, (Dublin Ireland)

“This course has been an amazing experience. I think you should do a lot more of these for people. Thank you for offering it!” -Anonymous

“Great amount of homework, class is well run, good participation, could use more time for reflections” - Anonymous

“I’m loving the course and learning so much.” -Anonymous

“I wanted to take the course because I want to be my authentic self. At the beginning, I didn't think it would be possible because I didn't understand how one knows when they are being authentic. I think I understand now. I don't know if it can happen for me but you have given me the tools to know how. It's up to me to do it.” -Anonymous

“This course has been an amazing experience. I think you should do a lot more of these for people. Thank you for offering it!” -Anonymous

“Going well. glad to be here” -Anonymous

“Very very good” -Anonymous

“Great class.” - Anonymous

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