In our San Francisco DBT therapy practice, we often see clients who wonder if DBT is right for them.
What is emotional dysregulation?
Emotional dysregulation doesn’t just mean that you experience your emotions as out of control.
It can also manifest as confusion, judgment or embarrassment about your emotions. Your changing moods may interfere with your ability to follow through on things. Or it may be hard to figure out ways to soothe yourself when something is bothering you.
Are you emotionally dysregulated?
Here is a brief test that can help you assess where you fall on the emotional dysregulation scale.
This test is not meant to diagnose, but rather to help point you in the right direction to find the therapy that is most effective for your concerns.
Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale
Indicate how often the following 36 statements apply to you by rating each statement on the following scale:
- 1 – Almost never
- 2 – Sometimes
- 3– About half the time
- 4 – Most of the time
- 5 – Almost always
1. I am clear about my feelings
2. I pay attention to how I feel
3. I experience my emotions as overwhelming and out of control
4. I have no idea how I am feeling
5. I have difficulty making sense out of my feelings
6. I am attentive to my feelings
7. I know exactly how I am feeling
8. I care about what I am feeling
9. I am confused about how I feel
10. When I’m upset, I acknowledge my emotions
11. When I’m upset, I become angry with myself for feeling that way
12. When I’m upset, I become embarrassed for feeling that way
13. When I’m upset, I have difficulty getting work done
14. When I’m upset, I become out of control
15. When I’m upset, I believe that I will remain that way for a long time
16. When I’m upset, I believe that I’ll end up feeling very depressed
17. When I’m upset, I believe that my feelings are valid and important
18. When I’m upset, I have difficulty focusing on other things
19. When I’m upset, I feel out of control
20. When I’m upset, I can still get things done
21. When I’m upset, I feel ashamed with myself for feeling that way
22. When I’m upset, I know that I can find a way to eventually feel better
23. When I’m upset, I feel like I am weak
24. When I’m upset, I feel like I can remain in control of my behaviors
25. When I’m upset, I feel guilty for feeling that way
26. When I’m upset, I have difficulty concentrating
27. When I’m upset, I have difficulty controlling my behaviors
28. When I’m upset, I believe that there is nothing I can do to make myself feel better
29. When I’m upset, I become irritated with myself for feeling that way
30. When I’m upset, I start to feel very bad about myself
31. When I’m upset, I believe that wallowing is all I can do
32. When I’m upset, I lose control over my behaviors
33. When I’m upset, I have difficulty thinking about anything else
34. When I’m upset, I take time to figure out what I’m really feeling
35. When I’m upset, it takes me a long time to feel better
36. When I’m upset, my emotions feel overwhelming
For items numbered 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 17, 20, 22, 24 and 34:
reverse the number you put down, making a 1 score as a 5, a 2 score as a 4 and vice versa.
If you answered a 3 to any of the reverse-scored items, don’t make any changes.
After you account for the reverse-scored questions, add up the numbers for all 36 items to arrive at your final score.
A higher number suggests greater difficulty with emotion regulation.
This test is called the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS)* which is one tool to see if you might benefit from DBT. Click here to read the abstract of the study.
The test was designed by researchers to assess key areas of emotional dysregulation. For more information on the study and its authors: http://www.nctsn.org/content/difficulties-emotion-regulation-scale
Are you emotionally dysregulated?
Call (415) 310-5142 for a free phone consultation to see how our therapists can help you. We offer individual and group Dialectical Behavior Therapy and our offices are located in the Castro district of San Francisco.
* Gratz, K.L. & Roemer, E. Multidimensional Assessment of Emotion Regulation and Dysregulation: Development, Factor Structure, and Initial Validation of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 26: 1, pp. 41-54.