DBT Emotion Regulation Overview

DBT’s Emotional Regulation Module teaches skills that help a person build up a base of positive experiences and regulate his or her emotions on a daily basis. 

The goals of Emotional Regulation are to:

  • increase the ability to stay emotionally in the present moment
  • increase flexibility in thinking about emotional responses
  • increase the capacity to tolerate emotions
  • increase the capacity to tolerate the physical sensations accompanying emotions
  • reduce avoidance and maladaptive behaviors due to strong emotional responses and
  • practice titrated emotion-focused exposure techniques. 

The foundation for Emotional Regulation is the use of your Mindfulness skills. Mindfulness about your emotions asks you to engage with the experience of your emotions in an observational manner. Slowing down, non-judgmentally observing emotional experiences helps you learn to separate them out and name them. In addition, using non-judgmental observation of your emotions is important as this can reduce the pain of secondary distress. Often, along with the primary strong emotion, there is a flood of intense secondary emotions: shame, anxiety, guilt,  and rage.

The primary emotion or emotions are adaptive and in context to a current situation. The secondary emotion or emotions are habitual feelings that come up about past situations and/or self-inflicted feelings of shame and guilt about having strong emotions. 

Have patience with yourself! 

Trauma can imbed emotional and behavioral pattens that you’ve successfully used to protect and help you along the way in your life.  These protective mechanisms have served you well for a while. So, allow yourself some time to think about the basic foundational concepts of Emotional Regulation and be kind to yourself.

Learning to slow down, observe, not judge, 

Learning to tolerate the emotional and physical sensations of strong emotion

Learning to separate out the tangled web of emotion 

Leaning to name the separated out emotions 

These are big skills and it takes time to reduce vulnerability to strong emotions, but it can be done, with support, practice, conscious self-care and self-love.

It takes six months to get thought the entire DBT curriculum and it is recommended that you go through it twice! So it takes time!

Stay tuned for more Emotion Regulation Skills! 

DBT Articles:

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy? http://bit.ly/2c3dm9X

DBT Wise Mind Walk the Middle Way http://bit.ly/2uUf0XR

#StopSuicide and DBT Distress Tolerance Skills http://bit.ly/2c2lpss

DBT Radical Acceptance http://bit.ly/2dhE3vv

DBT STOP and TIP Skills: Life is Worth Living Even There is Pain  http://bit.ly/2iuTm7M

DBT Skill: Distract Yourself from Negative Thoughts and Feelings http://bit.ly/2DBuFNq

Six DBT Skills to Nurture Yourself During Holiday Rush http://bit.ly/DBTHolidaySkills

DBT Mindfulness WHAT Skills: Adult Coloring Books http://bit.ly/DBTWhatColor

DBT Skills for the Fourth Trimester http://bit.ly/DBTFourthTrimester





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