Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation plays a vital function in our day-to-day lives. We are constantly exposed to an array of stimuli and emotionally latent situations. How we think, feel, and cope depends on our ability to self-regulate our reactions to events and stressors.

Emotional Regulation refers to the conscious skills and unconscious processes used to monitor and manage the experience, expression, and response to emotion. These responses include our thoughts, feelings, physiological responses, and behavior. Emotional Regulation focuses on exhibiting the appropriate emotion in the appropriate situation. It also includes tolerating distress related to unmet needs and the old adage of ‘thinking before acting’. We rely on our ability to regulate our emotions and actions every day. When we experience deficits in this area, it greatly impedes our success in multiple areas of life: personal, vocational, education, and social.

DBT, Dialectal Behavior Therapy, developed by Marsha Linehand, has been demonstrated by research to be an effective system of therapy in treating emotional dysregulation. It combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques and reality testing with concepts of mindfulness, distress tolerance, and acceptance. DBT often comprises of two components: group and individual therapy sessions. Groups are formatted similar to classes and utilize the recommended workbook below. Individual sessions assist clients in applying skills learned in group to their personal lives and problem solve any barriers that may arise.

We CAN learn to mange our emotions versus being managed by emotions. The suggested readings below teach the importance of emotions, their influence on behavior, and provide specific exercises to learn and practice our ability to better manage our responses.