In S05E02 of The Americans, Phillip and Elizabeth teach their daughter, Paige, a technique to use if she is in distress and it feels like she's about to disclose her parents' real identity to her boyfriend:

Rub her forefinger and thumb together and think about her parents.

Have either of the Jennings parents used this technique themselves in previous episodes?

  • if it has been used, it was not shown on screen, nor references in a particular situation. – jedicurt May 30 '18 at 18:11

No, they've not used that technique. But then again, Phillip and Elizabeth are experienced and well-trained spies. I would think their need to use such a crutch disappeared long ago. I would also think that to lie convincingly, keeping calm, and manage stress would've been addressed during their training.

Anyway it looks like a post-hypnotic trigger - probably some sort of auto-hypnosis - so they may use another (more discrete) trigger... and after using it enough times, you really don't need the trigger - it's enough to just imagine using it (in your mind)... or with enough practice, even just willing the result (eg. to stay calm).

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