#1: What is Emotional Dysregulation?

Are you highly sensitive? And do you struggle with very intense emotions that sometimes overwhelm you? Today, for the first episode of The Skillful Podcast, Marielle will be talking to Ed Fowler, who works with her at the Bay Area DBT and Couples Counseling Center, providing individual DBT therapy, skills group, ACT, and EMDR for the treatment of trauma. In today’s episode, Ed and Marielle will be discussing the concept of emotional dysregulation. Listen in to find out more.

Today, Ed and Marielle define emotional dysregulation and they talk about what it feels like to live with really intense emotions. They also discuss the bio-social theory of the foundational concept in DBT. Tune in today, to discover ways to reduce your emotional suffering, improve your relationships, and become more present in your life.

Show Highlights:

  • Sometimes, our emotions can become so overwhelming that it leads to a sense of numbness.
  • Some people who relate to being emotional dysregulated know what they’re feeling all the time, while others are just overwhelmed and go to a place of numbness.
  • Some people describe emotional dysregulation as being highly sensitive.
  • There are lots of positive aspects to being very sensitive emotionally.
  • It’s easy for people who feel their emotions very strongly to become overwhelmed by them.
  • Emotional dysregulation can be felt when our emotions become overwhelming and we don’t know what to do with them.
  • It can take a really long time for the extreme emotions to go away and this can cause a lot of suffering.
  • It can be really difficult to focus on anything or get anything done when you’re feeling these extreme emotions. 
  • Mood dependent behavior means that your current mood dictates what you’re doing.
  • People with strong emotions can tend to get into patterns of procrastination or avoidance and sometimes people can feel really stuck or trapped.
  • Life becomes chaotic if your current emotion is dictating what you’re doing, so that creates a challenging life.
  • DBT offers really effective ways to express your emotions.
  • DBT helps people feel better in a way that they won’t regret the consequences of what they’ve done to make themselves feel better.
  • Extreme emotions sometimes feel as if they will never go away.
  • Judging yourself and feeling bad about feeling bad just makes things worse.
  • With DBT you learn that things can change and you don’t have to be a victim to your strong emotions.
  • Other people might not understand the extreme emotional experience of a child and this could lead to the child being invalidated and developing patterns that do not work for them. This can cause confusion and a number of other problems for the child.
  • There is almost always a sense of shame associated with either imploding or exploding.
  • Ed explains why he really enjoys doing the work in DBT.
  • Most people don’t have good language around emotion. 
  • Any kind of childhood abuse is inherently invalidating and messes with the child’s sense of reality. 
  • Caregivers who invalidate a child’s intense emotions regularly can actually end up reinforcing more dramatic or explosive behavior in the child. 
  • A wide range of tools can help people to regulate their intense emotions.
  • DBT teaches us that emotions are neither good or bad- they just give us information. 


You can find us online at http://bayareadbtcc.com/ 

For more information about DBT skills: https://www.guildord.com/author/Marsha-M_Linehan

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