People whose behavior is out-of-control usually report extreme, intense negative emotions. They will often fluctuate between extremes of anger, anxiety, depression and shame.
When you are in the midst of emotional hell it is nearly impossible to find the life you want. Chronic stressful events increase reactivity and make positive life goals feel unattainable. Circumstances often seem to dictate the course your life is taking and you can feel like you’re at the mercy of your emotions.
Repetitive emotional reactivity and chronic crisis often make what you want impossible to imagine. DBT starts with a focus on gaining behavioral control. You can begin to build a life you want only with relief from constant crisis.
Core beliefs shape how to climb out of the abyss of problem behavior.
Because problem behaviors are viewed as learned responses, solving the problem involves gaining a better understanding of your behavior and the forces that impact it. It also involves learning new skills to manage the intensely painful emotions that trigger problem behaviors.
Problem Solving involves:
Analyzing your behavior and learning new skills is complex and takes a significant amount of motivation. In DBT individual therapy and skills training groups are designed to help you with both of those tasks. Going it alone can be extremely difficult. When you’re feeling hopeless and stuck or can’t see any options a therapist and skills trainer can help to keep you focused and moving forward.
In future posts I will continue with the topic of finding a life you want. The next topic will discuss steps to take once your behavior is under control.
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Last reviewed: 28 Jul 2010