244. What You Feel Is Not All There Is with Aprilia West

As children, we’re supposed to learn how to cope with big emotions, but that’s not always so easy. Even as adults, we can find ourselves hooked into powerful, sticky, or big emotions. On this episode of POTC, Dr. Aprilia West, author of What You Feel Is Not All There Is (2021), explains that this is a normal, evolutionary response and (better yet) provides practical strategies for responding more effectively to big emotions. Debbie and Aprilia break down the three types of emotion efficacy skills, and leave you with evidence-based methods of distinguishing helpful and unhelpful emotional messages, skills for self-regulation, metaphors to reframe your approach to emotions, and much, much more! Join us in this advice-packed episode today!

Listen and Learn:

  • Debbie and Jill their favorite take-aways from the episode and from Aprilia’s work
  • Aprilia explains the differences and overlaps between coaching and therapy
  • An accessible, expert definition of emotional efficacy
  • The evolutionary mechanisms that keep us locked in to strong emotions
  • Practical advice for distinguishing helpful from unhelpful emotions 
  • Evidence-based skills from Aprilia’s book to help you deal with big emotions
  • The downsides of problematic but popular messages like toxic positivity
  • Expert-approved ways to approach anger
  • Aprilia breaks down her metaphor of emotions as waves and how to use it for your advantage
  • The importance of curiosity in dealing with emotional reactivity 
  • How to use acceptance and flexibility when big emotions hook you in
  • Evidence based strategies and skills for self-regulation and self-soothing
  • Aprilia’s words of wisdom for those of you who are wanting to move toward flourishing 


Dr. Aprilia West photo

About Aprilia West:

Aprilia West, PhD, has over 20 years experience working with Fortune 500 companies, U.S. Members of Congress, entertainment industry executives and creatives, tech founders, and global non-profit advocacy campaigns. Her work with clients applies contextual behavioral science and positive psychology to maximize wellbeing and peak performance. In addition to her psychotherapy practice, she works with leaders doing executive and team coaching. As a trainer, she works with coaches and therapists all over the world in applying contextual behavioral science in clinical and organizational settings. She has always had a passion for helping people imagine and play at the edge of what’s possible. She is passionate about making evidence-based knowledge and skills more accessible and has authored two books, The Clinician’s Guide to Emotion Efficacy Therapy (2016), Acceptance and Commitment Coaching in the Workplace, Positive Psychology in the Workplace (Springer 2021), and What You Feel Is All There Is (2021).

Dr. West’s newest book offers an evidence-based accessible guide for building a more meaningful authentic life by powerfully navigating choice points to align with values — even in moments of intense stress, challenge and pain. Using the metaphor from the popular film, the Matrix she illuminates our problematic human predicament: we are trapped in an emotional matrix where default emotional reactions control us unless we get unplugged. Dr. West gives readers the skills they need to free their choices from unhelpful defaults by learning to decode emotion triggers, observe emotional STUF (sensations, thoughts, urges and feelings), surf emotion waves instead of reacting, and choose values-based action in moments of intense emotional activation.

For more information, you can go to or follow her on IG @drapriliawest.

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Episode 244