You can edit almost every page by Creating an account. Otherwise, see the FAQ.

Feeling Wheel

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

The Feeling Wheel is tool for expanding awareness of emotions and increasing spontaneity and intimacy.[1]. Invented by Gloria Willcox and shared via a published article in 1982. The idea was inspired by Joseph Zinker’s view of the therapist as an artist and Robert Plutchik’s comparison of emotions to colors.

Colored Feeling Wheel


The description of Creative therapy as having "the same quality as making music or painting a picture"[2], along with the comparison between emotions and colors as "fundamental, or primary"[3], inspired Dr Willcox to develop the wheel diagram. The diagram aimed to help people “at a loss” of words to describe their feelings.

The first rendition of the Feeling Wheel was a color poster that Willcox designed and hung in her office to use during her psychotherapy sessions. The poster turned into a handout version and, subsequently, into her article in the peer-reviewed publication, the Transactional Analysis Journal--Volume 12, 1982 - Issue 4, the International Transactional Analysis Association’s official journal.

One of the first citations of the usage of the feeling wheel is an article of the Journal of Independent Social Work, "the adult child would do well to accept and recognize their feelings"[4], citing the Feeling Wheel as a handout to help with that process.

At the time of writing, Willcox was part of The Network of Christian Counseling Center in Saint Petersburg, Florida.

Description of the Feeling Wheel[edit]

Derived originally from the four basic emotions (mad, scared, sad, and glad), the resultant six primary emotions were arrived at by decomposing the "glad" emotion into peaceful, powerful, and joyful. Willcox did this in an effort to balance desirable and non-desirable emotions.

The diagram is composed of three concentric circles partitioned into six segments. Within the inner circle each partition correspond to one of the six primary feelings. The two outer concentric circles describe secondary feelings that relate directly to the primary but provide a more granular interpretation; this level of feeling detail helps the user describe their emotional experience with more nuance.

Innermost Circle[edit]

Primary Feelings

Middle Circle[edit]

Secondary Feelings
Peaceful Powerful Joyful Mad Sad Scared
Content Faithful Excited Hurt Guilty Rejected
Thoughtful Important Sexy Hostile Ashamed Confused
Intimate Hopeful Energetic Angry Depressed Helpless
Loving Appreciated Playful Rage Lonely Submissive
Trusting Respected Creative Hateful Bored Insecure
Nurturing Proud Aware Critical Sleepy Anxious


The Feeling Wheel present applications extend beyond psychotherapy and into the realm of affective science, as a model for emotion classification. Also utilized as a data model for therapeutic apps, a framework for UX technique evaluation, and a descriptive tool in psychoeducation research.

Original Suggested Applications[edit]

Described by Willcox as "A Tool for Expanding Awareness of Emotions and Increasing Spontaneity and Intimacy," the wheel is designed to aid people in recognizing and communicating their emotions, leading to an increase of feeling vocabulary and enhanced communication.

Small group setting[edit]

Used as a facilitator for creative play, groups can choose a feeling in the chart at random--either by a spinner dial or rubber-tipped darts and verbalize a message they can use to generate the chosen feeling.

Another use is as a vehicle to express feelings by having participants color the feelings they are having in the tone of their choice. A black and white version of the chart will be needed for this purpose.

Finally, as a process for "converting feelings," participants are encouraged to become aware of the connection between desirable and undesirable feelings, leveraging those connections for the "conversion.”

Different versions of the feeling wheel are available online, tweaked to work for specific types of therapy. A good example is the one used for affective and interpersonal regulation by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs[5].

Emotion Classification[edit]

As part of the growing effort for emotion recognition within affective sciences, the feeling wheel provides a discrete set of feelings for labeling and annotating data. Used to mark utterances in emotion detection of multipart dialogs extracted from the show Friends employing convolutional neural networks[6] and assess the impact of animated agents’ facial emotions[7].

Therapeutical Apps[edit]

Found as a "framework to be used as emotional descriptors"[8] the Feeling Wheel serves as a design base for mobile applications. Seeking to provide a therapeutical tool applicable to a wide range of applications; from a self-assessment tool, all the way to helping manage bipolar disorders[9]

Educational therapy and research[edit]

As a component of a framework to help understand syndromes and pathologies, or a framework for strategic intervention in educational therapy.[citation needed]

UX Evaluation Techniques[edit]

Feelings can identify several UX (user experience) evaluations. The Feeling Wheel can help narrow down emotions and make a more exact declaration of the user's self-reported experience[10]


  1. Willcox, Gloria (1982). "The Feeling Wheel". Transactional Analysis Journal. 12 (4): 274–276. doi:10.1177/036215378201200411.
  2. Zinker, J. Creative process in gestalt therapy. Vintage Books, Random House, 1978.
  3. Plutchick, R. Emotions: A psychorevolutionary synthesis. Harper and Row. 1980.
  4. Smith, Kenneth G. (1989). "Serving the Sandwich Generation". Journal of Independent Social Work. 3 (3): 79–94. doi:10.1300/J283v03n03_07.
  5. "STAIR skills training in affective and interpersonal regulation." U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Accessed 13 July 2020.
  6. ZAHIRI, S.; CHOI, J.. Emotion Detection on TV Show Transcripts with Sequence-Based Convolutional Neural Networks. AAAI Workshops, North America, jun. 2018. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 Jul. 2020.
  7. Adamo, Nicoletta; Dib, Hazar N.; Villani, Nicholas J. (2019). "Animated Agents' Facial Emotions: Does the Agent Design Make a Difference?". Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Computer Graphics. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. 11613. pp. 10–25. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-25965-5_2. ISBN 978-3-030-25964-8. Search this book on
  8. Tripp, Eleanor D., "Beyond Shame: A Therapeutic Mobile Application for the Development of Shame Resilience” (2019). Browse all Theses and Dissertations. 2113.
  9. Niberca Polo (2011). "The Bipolar Spectrum and the Artistic Temperament: The Effects of Treatment on Exceptional Artistic Talent". doi:10.13140/2.1.1411.2323.
  10. Da Silva, João Batista; Kronbauer, Artur Henrique (2018). "A new approach to identifying the potentialities of User Experience techniques". Proceedings of the 24th Brazilian Symposium on Multimedia and the Web. pp. 291–294. doi:10.1145/3243082.3264664. ISBN 9781450358675. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help) Search this book on

This article "Feeling Wheel" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:Feeling Wheel. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.