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TANGO MOVE 2- Affect Assembly and deepening

Updated: Aug 5, 2022

In Tango move 2 we are slowing down to organize and/or deepen one partner’s vulnerability identified in move 1

We are assembling the elements of one partner’s emotional experience, starting with the cue/trigger

As emotions are assembled and organized, they are better tolerated, allowing us to help clients to connect more deeply with their experience

  • In Stage 1 of EFT the goal of Tango Move 2 is to help clients link their trigger, and the vulnerability underneath it, to their action tendency (fostering ownership and awareness of their part in the cycle)

  • In Stage 2 of EFT, the goal of Tango Move 2 is to help clients link their trigger and the vulnerability underneath it with their attachment fears and models of self and other (fostering awareness of previously disowned emotions and attachment needs)



  • Find the Cue (trigger, often interpersonal): What triggered you?... Set you off?

  • Rapid Appraisal of situation: What’s your immediate response that pops up? What does the alarm say? Good? Bad?

  • Arousal sensation of emotion: How do you feel inside? What do you notice in your body?

  • Reappraisal / Attachment meaning: What do you say to yourself? How do you make sense of …? What is the painful story you tell yourself?

  • Action Tendency / Behavioral Response: What do you do? Feel like doing?

additional interventions for affect assembly and deepening

There are several interventions beyond the scope of this article that can be used for affect assembly and deepening such as:

  • RISSSC (Repeat, Images, Slow, Soft, Simple, and Client's Words)

  • Heightening using reflection

  • Empathic conjecture

  • Evocative responding

  • Validation

*Information regarding many of these can be found in Sue Johnson’s “Attachment Theory and Practice 3rd edition” and in Jim Furrow, Sue Johnson and colleagues’ “Becoming an Emotionally Focused Therapist-the workbook 2nd Edition”.


Affect assembly and Deepening (Stage 1 example)

Therapist: Anthony, when Thomas gets upset, saying you are never physically affectionate with him (trigger/vulnerability), you say you get quiet. What happens to you in that moment? What is happening right now?

Anthony: I get frustrated, what does he want from me? Just add it to the list of complaints

Therapist: Ouch. List of complaints, that sounds hard…stressful? (rapid appraisal)

Anthony: Yes.. I guess. It’s not enjoyable

Therapist: Of course not. You don’t like when your sweetie is upset with you. Can you notice right here what happens in your body when that stress comes up? (arousal)

Anthony: Umm..I guess I get tense all over.

Therapist: Tense all over, yes, this is so stressful when Thomas says he feels let down by you and you feel it inside. Can you feel that tension right here, right now? (making it present, deepening)

Anthony: Yes…I don’t like to focus on it but..there is a tightness in my chest.

Therapist: A tightness in your chest.. amazing that you can stay with this right now. If you slow down to listen to that tightness inside for a moment, what is it saying? (Reappraisal)

Anthony: It’s saying I let him down again, I will never be what he needs

Therapist: Wow..never be what your sweetie needs…Anthony that sounds painful (empathic conjecture, deepening)…your shoulders are slumped as you say this (reflecting body language, making it present, deepening).

Anthony: Yes, I guess it does hurt and I don’t want to feel that.

Therapist: Right, of course you don’t want to feel that hurt, it makes sense that you shut down and get quiet when Thomas asks for more affection and all you hear is that you are not what he needs..(Tying action tendency to vulnerability/primary emotion)

** Please note that this is not a transcript from a real session but was created based on clinical experience

Stay tuned for Tango move 3: Choreographing engaged encounters/enactments

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