Sunday, November 8, 2009

Emotion Regulation Homework Sheet 1 : Observing and Describing Emotions - Revised

The revised worksheet can be downloaded here.

What follows is an adaptation of an exercise taken from the Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder by Marsha Linehan. The skills in this book, as well as any other CBT or DBT book, are not limited to BPD nor are they limited to people suffering from any disorder, but are useful to all people.

My problem with most of this type of homework is that it tends to focus on negative emotions. It is of course important to understand these, but it as at least as important to recognise the positive ones. Even in a deep depression, there will be moments when things aren’t as bad, even if it only lasts a moment. But depression makes it difficult to remember these moments, which is why I think it is important to reinforce them by documenting them (just saying happy words can alleviate some symptoms, even if you don’t believe in them).

So I am beginning a series of revisions to common homework worksheets that encourage the recognition of positive emotions and events as well as challenging the negative ones. There is nothing really new in terms of techniques in these adaptations, but rather they incorporate different exercises into a more complete, and I think beneficial, exercise.

It is best to complete this form when the emotion was recent so that you can record in more detail.

Also, very importantly, for every negative emotion that you complete one of these sheets for, do at least one other for a positive emotion. This will not only reinforce healthy thinking, but will also help you when planning for future negative emotions (for example, you may fill out a sheet for feeling worthless and another day have an experience of feeling worthwhile. You can then use your physical, emotional, and behavioural reactions to the positive situation to revise how you might change these things when experience worthlessness again. E.g. when feeling worthless your shoulders were slumped, but when feeling worthwhile you were standing straight. You can then go back and make sure that changing your posture to sitting up when feeling worthless is on your list of physical changes to make).

Related to the above parenthesis, you may find these sheets useful for compiling a list of warning signs and coping strategies.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the worksheet, I'll download this and study it because I may learn more about negative emotion.