Therapy That Works...

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy - How Parents Can Help Their Emotionally Volatile Child - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss how Dialectical Behavioral Therapy can help parents understand and work with their emotionally volatile children - click here.

Like the waves of a turbulent ocean, the world of negative emotions seems to ebb and flow with a disturbing lack of predictability. One day you can easily manage your emotions, but the next day everything seems to get to you. You find the insult in every comment from friends and family, and you just cannot seem to calm down.

Dr. Marsha Linehan recognized that biological vulnerabilities to high intensity emotions could create a difficult parental relationship early in life.

Well-intentioned parents do their best to match the intense communications of their children, but they often fall short with a child who lives with more intense emotions. Parental initiatives in discipline, organization, and performance that may have worked effortlessly with their other children fall flat with this child. Instead, this child may stubbornly resist change and compliance, further frustrating the parent.

In worst cases, the cycle between the frustrated parents and the emotional child can become highly toxic.

The child is unable to perform optimally at school and in extracurricular activities due to their intense emotions. Confused parents misinterpret this behavior as disobedience, apathy, manipulation, and defiance. The child is labeled as difficult and exhausting because the parent doesn’t know what to do!

These parents need to understand their child’s emotional states and use skills from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (or DBT) to help their children calm down, focus, and perform. They’ll be able to structure and properly work with their child so that they are successful at home and at school. Once they know how to communicate effectively with their child, the parent-child relationship will flourish.

If you or someone you know is having difficulty communicating with their child, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.

Sources:

The work of Dr. Marsha Linehan

"Doing Dialectical Behavior Therapy: A Practical Guide" by Kelly Koerner

Dialectical Behavior Therapy - Three Vulnerabilities That Can Lead To Overreactive Emotions - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe three emotional vulnerabilities in children discovered by Dr. Marsha Linehan that can lead to emotional regulation issues later in life - click here .

Dr. Marsha Linehan, the inventor of Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT, began her career studying suicidal patients who struggled with borderline personality disorders. She argued that many people who develop borderline disorders are born with an underlying biological vulnerability.

According to Linehan, there are three biologically based characteristics that create this vulnerability, often early in life.

Drop of a Hat

Those of us who are prone to intense emotions react quickly to environmental triggers. We have a lower threshold for reaction and we tend to react to things that might not trigger others.

Sudden Eruptions

We express what we are feeling intensely and often very rapidly. We go from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye. When we constantly use our negative emotions, we often shut down our analytical thinking and react before we think.

Slow Cool Down

Once we are upset, we have trouble calming down and returning to normal. We stay upset longer and with more intensity than we should.

Sources:

The work of Dr. Marsha Linehan

"Doing Dialectical Behavior Therapy: A Practical Guide" by Kelly Koerner

Dialectical Behavior Therapy - Who Needs DBT Treatment? - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe which types of clients benefit most from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (or DBT) and how it helps calm down intense emotions - click here.

For most of us, our emotions are manageable and easy to navigate. They express the highs and lows of life and color our everyday experiences. However, for many people, emotions surge and swell without notice. Happiness can burn into anger and hope can wither into depression in the blink of an eye.

The surges of negative feelings that become intense outbursts are deeply confusing, not only to the person experiencing them but to everyone around them. Their friends, family, and coworkers tell them to pull themselves together with phrases like “get a grip ,” “be less sensitive,” and “you are such a drama queen.” However, they cannot hope to stop what they cannot control. Other people often think they are undisciplined, immature, or deeply flawed in a fundamental way.

They often give up hope and believe that their lives will never improve.

As a psychologist, I have worked with many clients who have struggled everyday to control how they felt and reacted to situations. By the time they finally sought out treatment, they were often thoroughly frustrated, helpless, and hopeless. They felt like they would never learn how to control their emotions like everyone else. Many of them had developed self-destructive habits to soothe, mask, or escape their underlying emotional discomfort and pain. They would sometimes lash out at others, avoid proper nutrition, regularly self-mutilate, escape into alcoholism, or develop other addictions when their emotions became too difficult to handle.

They were desperate for any kind of escape, no matter the cost.

Many years ago, Dr. Marsha Linehan developed a type of therapy called Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, to help resolves intense emotions and regain control of life. Dr. Linehan was frustrated with therapies she thought fell short of helping her clients reign in emotional intensity in the moment. She wanted a therapy regimen that could teach clients coping skills so they could handle situations on their own in between sessions. She wanted her clients to be able to regain control of the car when they began to spin out of reality.

DBT is extremely effective with clients who are struggling with emotions that are too intense, too frequent, and too overwhelming.

If someone you know is experiencing extremely intense emotions or outbursts, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.

Source:

"Doing Dialectical Behavior Therapy: A Practical Guide" by Kelly Koerner


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