Powered by Emotion: Core Program

Access to this course content is available for 365 days.

This series of courses offers the entire core curriculum of Dr Joanne Dolhanty’s Emotion Focused Skills Training as translated for personal and professional growth. Learn how to navigate your own emotions as well as the emotions of those you work and interact with. Enhance your own motivation for change and learn to understand the motivation of others. Transform the relationships that are central to your own and your team or organization’s success.

Emotion Focused Skills Training is an evidence-based intervention, with results from a large controlled clinical trial showing that engaging in the program is sufficient for significant change to occur.


Powered by Emotion: Core Program

This series of courses will be relevant to individuals embarking on or wishing to embark on any change enterprise, or already engaged in a process of change and needing a nudge or finding themselves halted or paused or “stuck” in that process. By “change enterprise” we mean having some desire or goal to change direction in the domain of personal and/or professional growth.

This series of courses will also be relevant to professionals who work, or who intend to work, in any context of supporting others in a change process and wanting to facilitate success in changing direction and achieving valued goals. 

This is the core curriculum of the Powered by Emotion Change Direction program and covers all of the core concepts and tools of the program. This training is for individuals, and for professionals and teams, to learn emotion focused skills training as it is applied in the context of personal and professional growth.


Founder & Lead Instructor Joanne Dolhanty

Dr. Joanne Dolhanty, PhD, C. Psych, is a clinical psychologist and the developer of Emotion Focused Skills Training (EFST). In collaboration with Dr. Leslie Greenberg, she also developed the application of Emotion Focused Therapy to Eating Disorders. She provides a lively and warm training atmosphere which facilitates personal growth as well as learning. She is known for turning complex change concepts into usable tools. Dr. Dolhanty teaches and trains individuals, parents, professionals and organizations across Canada and internationally.


Powered by Emotion emerged out of Dr Joanne Dolhanty’s pioneering work in developing Emotion Focused Skills Training (EFST). In EFST, Joanne took the complex theory of change that she had used to develop treatments for severely ill and treatment-resistant mental health patients, and made that theory accessible and available to individuals not trained in psychology.

With Powered by Emotion, Joanne has created a simple model of change from that base of theory and strategies to work with individuals, leaders, teams, and organizations, supporting them to navigate the challenges inherent in undertaking a change process. Professionals have implemented her program, in person and online, in a variety of contexts, including performance enhancement in professional and Olympic sports teams, leader development, organizational culture, and career development.



  • Increase your awareness
  • Increase your competence and confidence
  • Awareness of what?
    • of where you want to be – your change-goal
    • of where you are now – the specifics of your current challenge or conflict
    • of what keeps you here – stuck exactly where you are
  • Competence and confidence in what?
    • in your ability to change

… that is …

  • competence and confidence in your ability:
    • to understand the “competing motivations” that pull you away from change
    • to enhance your healthy motivation to change
    • to develop and master the emotion skills needed to change


  • Learn the content of the Powered by Emotion curriculum
  • Start to learn the basics of the model of change in Powered by Emotion
  • Start to build your “emotion competence”
  • Understand your competing motivation not to change
  • Enhance your intrinsic motivation to change
  • Begin to learn to attend to “emotion data” in others
  • Learn the research-backed ingredients of effective apology
  • Learn a new conceptualization of boundaries
  • Work on discovering “how you’re built” in the domains of identity, connection, and power
  • Work on embracing radical responsibility for how you “show up” so that you can use who you are to fuel your success*

Additional Goals and Learning Objectives for Powered by Emotion Associates

Powered by Emotion Associates will complete this series of courses as the first step in learning how to facilitate Powered by Emotion programming with clients. They will observe and experience:

  • The core program as delivered to clients
  • The style of presenting this material to clients
  • How we work to make clients feel validated in order to reduce their self-judgment
  • How we validate competing motivations not to change
  • How we work to enhance intrinsic motivation for change rather than urge towards change
  • How we embody the Powered by Emotion stance: In other words, “Don’t Change” is the reliable route to change

Course Access Duration

  • 365 days 


Pre-Unit – Introduction to Emotion

We’re going to get started by giving you a brief emotion education.

We need to focus on emotion because emotion is the essence of motivation.

You need to become fluent in emotion to sort out your motivation to change.

When you’re fluent in emotion, you can use your feelings as the guidance system they are designed to be.

Emotion fluency and skills are also just great things to have in general.

Emotion is a great classroom for life because:

  • Emotion is a universal language
  • It is the language of change and success
  • It tells us what we need and what to do to get our needs met
  • Emotion will drive you if you don’t drive it . . .
  • It’s you who needs to be at the wheel or those emotions will get the better of you
  • So jump in to your Emotion Education

You’ll also learn about:

  • The bridge model of change
  • The paradox of change

Pre-Unit – Introduction to the Emotion-GPS

New concept:

  • You have a GPS in your brain
  • The Emotion-GPS: Your built-in Emotion-Guided Problem-Solving system

Learn to use it to figure out where you’re headed:

  • To be clear about your starting location
  • To figure out what keeps you stuck
  • To move from conflict through motivation to power
  • To achieve your goal

Unit 1 – Validation

Broad Unit Goals:

  • Understand the rationale and goal of validation
  • Learn the tool of validation
  • Start using validation
  • Begin building toward skill competence

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

Course 1: Introduction to Validation

  • Understanding why it is so hard to validate
  • Discovering your talent at invalidating
  • What it feels like when others invalidate you

Course 2: Learn the Validation Tool

  • Getting it – why validate?
  • Getting the impact of validating
  • How validating will help you
  • How to validate
  • The steps of validating
  • Tips for validating

Course 3: The Building Blocks of Validation

  • Drilling down re: validation
  • Goal
  • Whether to validate and when
  • Context
  • Content
  • Delivery
  • Evaluate

Course 4: Validate What?

  • Reading emotion data
  • Matching the validation to the specific emotion
  • Understanding the power of validation in meeting the need

Course 5: POSTURE, Power and Validation

  • A new concept: “POSTURE” to explore how you “show up”
  • How you show up – empowered or disempowered
  • Improving your POSTURE with validation
  • The power of power-sharing

Course 6: Revisiting Your Emotion GPS

  • Revisit your Emotion-GPS to reassess
  • Where you are
  • What keeps you here
  • Where you want to be
  • More on emotion as your navigator

Unit 2 – Motivation

Broad Unit Goals:

  • Understand what motivation is
  • Understand what increases and what decreases motivation
  • Learn and start using the tools to enhance motivation
  • Increasing personal power by building toward skill competence with the tools
  • Improving relationships by understanding the motivation – and motivation slips – of others       

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives: What You’ll Learn About and Work on in each course

Course 1: Introduction to Motivation

  • Assessing your motivation
  • Challenging your motivation
  • What you tell yourself: The role of your “Brain Boss”
  • Defining motivation accurately
  • The importance of competence with confidence in emotion skills in order to enhance motivation
  • Foundational principles of motivation that will let you assess and enhance your motivation for change

Course 2: The Building Blocks of Motivation – Emotions, Feeling Traps & How You’re Built

  • A new concept: “How you’re built” to understand what motivates you
  • The emotional dimensions we’re all built around: Who I am; Who I’m with; and Power
  • The motivation of autonomy vs harmony and which drives you
  • How to catch a monkey: The “just let go” paradox
  • The feeling traps you fall into (and what throws you into one)

Course 3: The Building Blocks of Motivation - Magnets, Triggers & How You're Built

  • The magnets in you that make stuff “stick” to you (and get to you!)
  • How to have a fruitful (and ultimately freeing) conversation with the unhelpful voice in your head (your bossy Brain Boss)
  • The things in others or around you that trigger your magnets
  • Understanding your magnets and triggers by figuring out how you’re built on those emotional dimensions

Course 4: The Building Blocks of Enhancing Motivation

  • A new concept: “Competing motivations”
  • Getting that you’re not “unmotivated” – you have “competing motivations”
  • Going from understanding your current competing motivation to enhancing your motivation to change
  • Understanding the “Don’t Change!” approach to change
  • The magnets and triggers that come with seeking autonomy vs seeking harmony
  • Getting a better handle on how motivation works so you can enhance your motivation to change

Course 5: POSTURE, Power & Enhancing Motivation

  • Connecting motivation to your “POSTURE” and how you show up
  • Getting what motivates you to show up the way you do and to react the way you do when the going gets tough
  • Measuring your awareness of how you show up
  • How to become aware of the discrepancy between where you are and where you want to be
  • How to become aware of your own and others’ magnets, triggers, and competing motivations
  • How to use your awareness to pivot toward change and enhance your power

Course 6: Revisiting your Emotion-GPS

  • Revisit your Emotion-GPS to reassess
  • Where you are
  • What keeps you here
  • Where you want to be
  • Drilling down on the obstacle in your path that prevents you from reaching your goal

How to use awareness and your new emotion skills to pivot toward change

Unit 3 – Apology

Broad Unit Goals:

  • Understand the rationale for apologizing
  • Understand the goal of apology as a tool
  • Learn and start using apology as a tool
  • Increasing personal power by building toward skill competence with the tool

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

Course 1: Introduction to Apology

  • Everybody knows how to apologize. Right? Hmm . . .
  • Myths and misconceptions
  • Why apologize? Impact and rationale
  • The prison we end up in

Course 2: Learn the Apology Tool

  • Back to basics: Learning apology as an interpersonal tool
  • Step-by-step apologizing details

Course 3: The Building Blocks of Apology

  • Drilling down re: Apology
  • Goal
  • Whether to apologize and when
  • Context
  • Content
  • Delivery
  • Evaluate
  • The principles of an effective apology

Course 4: Don’t Apologize

  • The basic competing motivation when you don’t want to apologize
  • How you’re built and the needs behind the Brain Boss command: “Don’t Apologize”
  • Autonomy, harmony, and the apology competing motivation
  • Back to prison with “Don’t Apologize”

Course 5: POSTURE, Power & Apology

  • Connecting how (and if) you apologize to your “POSTURE” and how you show up
  • How unmet needs (related to how we’re built) affect the effectiveness of our apologies
  • What competence with confidence in apologizing looks like
  • Pivoting to an effective apology

Course 6: Revisiting Your Emotion GPS

  • Revisit your Emotion-GPS to reassess
  • Where you are
  • What keeps you here
  • Where you want to be
  • Assessing your awareness re: What motivates you vis a vis apology
  • Evaluating your apology chops

Unit 4 – Boundaries

Broad Unit Goals:

  • Understand the new vs old concept of boundaries
  • Learn the two-part boundary system
  • Recognize your boundary style
  • Learn and start using the Boundary PECCs tool
  • Increase personal power by building toward skill competence with the tool

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

Course 1: Introduction to Boundaries

  • What you used to think about boundaries
  • Thinking again about boundaries
  • A new concept: Boundaries without judgment
  • How a boundary overhaul is related to your goals and your success
  • The two-part boundary system: boundary style and a tool for setting limits

Course 2: Boundary Style

  • Intuiting your boundary style
  • Owning your boundary style
  • Understanding what motivates your boundary style
  • Porous vs rigid
  • Assess your boundary style

Course 3: The Boundary PECC’s Tool

  • Learning the limit-setting tool
  • Step-by-step limit-setting
  • Protecting your well-being
  • Increasing your power
  • The interference of judgment

Course 4: Don’t Change the Boundary

  • Understanding what motivates you to stay stuck in your boundary style
  • How you’re built and the basic competing motivation that stops you from changing your boundary behavior
  • Looking at autonomy, harmony, authority, and powering up vs powering down
  • Back in prison … again!

Course 5: POSTURE, Power & Boundaries

  • Connecting your boundaries to your “POSTURE” and how you show up
  • Your needs based on how you’re built and their impact on your limit-setting power
  • Assessing your POSTURE and power with boundaries
  • Enhancing your power with the limit-setting tool

Course 6: Revisiting Your Emotion-GPS

  • Revisit your Emotion-GPS to reassess
  • Where you are
  • What keeps you here
  • Where you want to be
  • Integrating boundaries and validation
  • Integrating boundaries and apology
  • Finding the competing motivations: Don’t power up vs don’t power down