Diary Card Practice Exercise

Andreas here with another Developer update and this time I am focused on the chain analysis in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). It´s an intricate part of DBT but also one of the hardest to learn to do yourself and as you know I´m working on the DBT Selfhelp & Diary Card app which will contain Chain analysis skill description. Doing the Chain analysis is in my mind and experience as much of a skill as any other and I´ve treated it as such. I´m today doing the final touches on two chain analysis exercises as I call handours when they are in your app. One is a short version with ten questions and one longer more in depth on choosing the skills to target the individual links in the chain.

I´ve questioned myself many times on perhaps there are too many questions and do really people have the patience and dedication to answer about bodily reactions on every chain analysis or describe their thoughts in every situation, perhaps not. So there lies alot of contemplation and testing behind every exercise but I must admit that the chain analysis has been the one that made me sit for hours redoing it and trying out different ways to convey the questions so that it´s understandable for as many as possible. The solution that´s easiest is the one that requires less work and that is the user themselves chooses which questions to answer and in what way and leave the ones that they chooses not to answer, and make on short and one longer.

What do you all think about that? You can answer me on twitter or here on the blog, twitter works faster but your questions might help others so leave them here in the blog as well.

It´s important in every chain to identify your bodily reactions as they can explain alot of what emotions you´re experiencing and the bodily reactions affect in turn your perception as for example fear makes your mind look for threats.

It´s important to identify emotions as stated above, it affects how your interpret situations and what the mind pays attention to. If you identify emotions they tend to be easier (but not easy) to cope with.

It´s important to identify or become aware of thoughts, interpretations and assumtions that goes on in your mind as it greatly affect both emotions and bodily reactions. How you interpret a situation is often a defining factor on how you´ll respond.

It´s also important so identify the perhaps smaller behaviors leading up to the “bigger” target behavior as one of those might be the weaker link that you can target to create a more satisfying outcome and consequence by using other behaviors or skills as we like to call them.

Finally, the consequences of your behaviors also greatly affect if a behavior is reinforced, or if it in fact decreases by extinction or punishments. It´s no easy task to do the chain analysis so try to be patient, non-judging and be mindful as you practice doing it over and over again.

DBT is standing on the shoulders of CBT and we should not forget how cognitive distortions greatly affect how we feel and thus what impulses we get. My experience is that we talk to little about this in DBT, but again, I guess that´s something that differs from team to team.


Be well, take care and remember to stop and pay attention to what´s going on right now, every day.

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