I was reading an article about TARGET, an approach to grounding emotional disregulation (e.g. from trauma). It introduces a mnemonic, FREEDOM, as follows:

  1. Focusing: Concentrating on a single idea grounded in our core values and sense of authentic self

  2. Recognizing: Paying attention to identifying what is triggering the alarm reaction, even small things which we ordinarily wouldn’t notice

  3. Emotions: Differentiating alarm-driven emotions from main, adaptive emotions


I think I understand alarm-driven emotions. But everything feels alarm-driven in that state. What are examples of adaptive emotions I might have? I'm not sure what I'm supposed to distinguish here.

I can only seem to find research papers on this topic, no infographic or guide. Probably the model is meant for psychologists to utilize, not directly for patients / the layperson. But I'm looking for grounding techniques for trauma and would like to know.


1 Answer 1


I found the publication the article was referring to. In the paper they are referred to as "main" emotions.

The goal of this skill is to identify two types of emotions. The first are "alarm" or reactive emotions such as terror, rage, and guilt. A second type of emotion, "main" emotions, include positive feelings and feelings that represent positive strivings. By balancing both kinds of emotions a person can reflect and draw on his/her own values and hopes even when the alarm is activated.

It's more salient to me to relabel them reactive versus goal-driven emotions. (Maybe even "intentional" emotions.)


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