Behaviour chain analysis (DBT) is a vast and vital part of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). The majority of individuals who utilize DBT will most likely have at least one target behavior. The target behavior will be what you would like to decrease within your life to impact positively. This can take the form of anything from chronic lateness to self-harm; it is vital to address these behaviors and be completely open and honest about them when in treatment as it can interfere with your overall recovery process.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) will generally require a chain each time an interfering target behavior is used. No matter whether this is in individual or group therapy, you will often find yourself doing quite a few of these.
The ideology behind the behavior chains is that your behavior is the culmination of a whole chain of feelings and events. Your behaviors started by something that triggered a set of emotions, which then triggered a body sensation and actions, and so on. It can often be described as the domino effect; one knocked domino will subsequently lead to the rest of the dominos toppling over. Dialectical behavioral therapy aims to help the individual acknowledge and learn how and where to step in to stop the rest of the dominos from falling over.
The steps of a behavior chain can be seen as follows:
- Describe your problem behavior
- Be very detailed and specific about this problem
- Identify precisely what you did, what you said, how you thought and felt
- Describe with as many details the intensity of the behavior
- Describe the specific situation or event that triggered the chain of said behavior
- Begin by describing the event that began the chain in the first place. Often this may not seem like it could have been the cause but stick to it
- Additionally, ask yourself to follow questions
- When did this sequence of events start
- What exact event or situation caused the start of this chain reaction
- What was happening at the moment when the problem behavior began?
- What exactly were you feeling, thinking, doing, or imagining at the specific time
- Describe the vulnerability factors before the precipitating event/situation
- What factors do you believe made you more vulnerable to the chain
- Spend some time examining these areas further
- Substance use
- Unbalance sleep
- Unhealth or unbalanced eating
- Physical illness
- Intense emotions
- Stressful events in the environment
- Previous behaviors of your own that you have found to be stressful
- Describe in as much detail as possible in which the chain of events that led up to the behavior arising
- Imagine each event that took place as a link in a chain. Follow and record all the links; these can be emotions, thoughts, behavior, or sensations.
- What are the repercussions of this behavior in question?
- How did you see others react
- How did you feel immediately after the behavior and later on in the day
- What effect did the behavior in questions have on you and your environment
- Describe in detail the different solutions to the problem
- Fall back on your behavior chain, begin circling each point where you could intervene, which could result in another outcome
- Mindmapping things you possibly could do differently to prevent the negative behavioral pattern from reappearing.
- Describe the prevention strategy (In detail)
- What and how could you keep the chain from the beginning by reducing your vulnerability factors
- Describe in as many details as you can what you will do in order to repair the vast consequences of the behavior in question.
As a note, you can pay attention to how your body feels and how you feel in the moment. Try to recognize all the emotions and sensations that appear and label them accordingly to review.