Emotional Dysregulation & Impulse Control

Emotional dysregulation refers to a difficulty in managing, regulating, and tolerating one’s feelings and emotional reactions – impulse control. If you struggle with regulating your emotions, you may have grown up in an environment where your emotions were invalidated or responded to inconsistently. Your feelings may have been thrown back in your face, and perhaps you were blamed or criticized for your emotional reactions. Growing up in an environment where feelings and needs aren’t recognized leads to confusion and doubt about your own emotional experiences, including thoughts, feelings, needs, yearnings, and urges.

impulse control therapy oaklandEmotional dysregulation may be displayed through angry outbursts, clinging behaviors, yelling, verbal or physical aggression, withdrawing, passive-aggressive behaviors, or emotional inhibition. It may also manifest itself in addictive self-soothing behaviors. If you struggle with regulating your emotions, you may seek immediate gratification to soothe and cope with distressing emotions, even if doing so leads to long-term pain and damage.

We can help you provide yourself with the validation and compassion that you didn’t receive growing up. We can assist you in developing curiosity about your emotional experience and gain an understanding of your emotions, and what they are telling you about your needs, boundaries, and deepest yearnings. Emotional regulation is the process by which we manage our emotional responses in healthy ways. Your emotions are not your enemy. They give you information about what feels unsatisfying, what feels uncomfortable, and what you want. We can help you understand your emotions and respond to them effectively.

What are the signs?

  • Angry outbursts
  • Rapid fluctuations in mood
  • Impulsive decision making
  • Impulsive reactions
  • Chronic feelings of deprivation or emptiness
  • Difficulty managing emotional reactions
  • Difficulty recognizing and labeling emotions
  • Difficulty managing emotional responses in triggering situations

We can help you:

  • Approach your emotions with curiosity and empathy
  • Recognize and identify feelings and needs in the moment
  • Develop attunement with and compassion toward your emotions
  • Identify triggers and urges
  • Mindfully observe urges without acting on them
  • Learn to understand what your emotions are telling you
  • Use your intuition to gain an understanding of yourself and your needs
  • Learn assertiveness skills
  • Build and maintain healthy boundaries in relationships
  • Learn skills to effectively express your feelings and needs using nonviolent communication
  • Set appropriate limits in relationships and provide appropriate consequences
  • Regulate behaviors that are emotionally reactive