Emotional Flooding in the Playroom: When the Therapist Finds Themselves Outside their Window of Tolerance

Emotional flooding is part of therapy: it occurs in all play therapy paradigms. Looking at it not through a lens of shame but with a focus on connection turns it from an enemy into an ally. In fact, emotional flooding – because of its realness and rawness – can lead to greater levels of healing and authenticity.


1:35 Lisa introduces LFPR series

1:57 Guilt and shame in emotional flooding

2:24 Normalizing emotional flooding

3:04 There is no play therapy model that is immune to emotional flooding

3:27 Why does emotional flooding happen?

3:50 Why is emotional flooding necessary, from a neuroscience perspective?

4:50 How does the dance of attunement allow for us to be human?

5:59 Emotional flooding and the window of tolerance

6:33 We are more prone to emotional flooding during certain times

7:07 Why might a child emotionally flood?

8:59 Signs of emotional flooding

10:56 Emotional flooding can cause a hyper-arousal or hypo-arousal response

12:03 The reasons a child is coming to therapy are often because of emotional flooding

12:50 Taking shame out of emotional flooding is repairing in itself

13:37 Creating connection

14:30 The repair from emotional flooding can move the relationship forward and create growth

15:39 Aggression in Play Therapy: A Neurobiological Approach for Integrating Intensity

16:32 What can you do when you feel emotionally flooded?

17:09 One foot in and one foot out

18:33 Using your breath to ground yourself

19:33 Why is it important not to sit still?

20:56 Naming the emotional flooding

22:00 Returning to the window of tolerance