Hi, folks. So today I'm going to walk you through a skill that's called Pros and Cons.
We use this skill for a couple of different reasons, but mainly to help us make effective decisions about different behaviors that we could engage in.
For me, this is particular skill can help move me out of emotion mind and into wise mind. Oftentimes, when I am an emotion mind, a lot of the pros that we're going to talk about for acting on a behavioral urge tend to only be pros in the short term for me, and oftentimes, in the long term for me, they are leading me to do something that might be against my values.
So pros and cons help with making behavioral decisions and help with accessing wise mind.
There are two main reasons why we do this.
The first is to help compare sort of the positives are advantages and disadvantages of different options that are available to us.
I want to be clear here that every single one of you have used pros and cons, likely multiple times today, even if you're not aware of the fact that you've done that. So, for example, even in pulling up this video, you likely did a quick pros and cons about the idea of having to sit through 10 minutes of me talking, versus being able to continue with whatever Netflix show that you were watching beforehand, or playing with your kids or whatever. Okay. Um, so this can help us sort through difficult choices, when we actually really need to evaluate what would be in our best interest long term.
The other big reason why we use this skill is to help us resist behaviors that could ultimately be either really impulsive or destructive, to our general well being or our self interest.
This could be things like isolation, alcohol use, binge eating, or stress, eating, angry outbursts towards people that we care about. Oftentimes, in the moment, when we're in emotion, mind, those things seem so reasonable to do.
But when we're out of emotion, mind, we can experience a lot of regret, guilt and shame about some of those decisions.
Now I'm going to walk you through how to do this. And I'm actually going to do sort of a practice run of this on something that I myself have been struggling with, amidst this COVID pandemic, and quarantine.
First, describe the behavior or the crisis urge that you are having. Remember that oftentimes, when we think about crisis, people have judgments about what that means. But here, really, we're talking about any kind of impulsive, or destructive behavior that would be damaging to your well being or self interests.
So the crisis urge that I'm going to talk about is I'm having to balance parenting with working has left me shorter on patients than I typically would be with my almost three year old. And so at various times in the day when he is super understandably trying to get my attention and have me play with him, I have had a really strong urge to snap at him in a way that I know won't be helpful to him or to me, when I'm in wise mind. So my crisis urge is going to be snapping at Elliot. That is my son. So I know for me what this looks like.
But sometimes it can be helpful to actually write out more behaviorally specific language about what this looks like. So using a harsh tone, demonstrating impatience. What happens most often is me literally saying his name in a way that's not warm or caring, but rather like Elliot, give me a minute.
So what you want to do now is go through and examine all of the positives and negatives about asking acting on this particular behavior. And you'll see that in DBT, we actually take a slightly different approach. In that we look at the pros and cons, both of acting on the crisis urge and on resisting crisis urges. And people can think that that's going to look pretty similar. But oftentimes doing it this way, helps to spur creativity and make you think through the problem with a little bit more detail than you would have doing just a pro versus con of acting on a given behavior.
One of the things that I really want you to keep in mind while you do this is both short and long term consequences.
I'll point some of these out as we go through.
So the pros: one of the things that I do when I'm writing out one of these for myself, is change acting on crisis urge to just whatever it is, so snapping, versus not snapping.
And this is a pretty important thing for me, and doing something skillful instead. Now something skillful could be a whole range of things, including using the stop skill, just to like pause yourself and breathe. Before going on. It could be validating his emotions, it could be validating my own emotions, it could be doing a ton of different stuff, but ultimately not snapping.
So pros, in the moment, when I would snap, I would probably feel some relief, I would feel a little better. All right. I would also feel like this was the easiest thing to do. And that given moment, because if I'm already really overwhelmed, trying to do something skillful, tends to be a lot harder. Um, this is also going to be quicker in terms of me getting some type of communication across. Whether or not it would actually be quicker though, to resolve this situation, I think is a different scenario.
There are some big cons to me snapping, too.
First of all, I am likely to feel a lot of guilt.
Afterwards, I try and talk to my kids the way that I want people to talk to me as a general rule, I am also going to likely spend longer because me escalating is often going to mean that he escalates.
If this hurts his feelings now I'm dealing with other intense emotions by my toddler, which is going to be more emotionally difficult to see anything else that stands out to me. It just goes against my values. I would probably have less of some of these things if he was actively doing something wrong, or that he knew he didn't have permission to do I would not feel as guilty around using a somewhat like sterner tone with him.
But if he's just wanting my attention, because I'm home, and he's used to having my attention when I'm home, this doesn't seem fair. Alright, so what are some cons to not snapping and doing something skillful instead? Well, this is going to require way more effort when I am already overwhelmed wellmed I'm going to have to think of other skills to use and anything else.
Other skills to use? These are the big ones that are occurring to me, but we can definitely talk through some other options that you guys might think of afterwards.
And so what are some pros of doing the skillful thing? In the long term, I'm going to feel more proud of myself. I get practice using skills. So they become easier with time.
I preserve the relationship between me and my son. I set an example For like my partner, for example, and how I want to parent and I act according to my values, which for me is a really important thing.
This is a really quick example of what something like this might look like.
Now there are likely crisis behaviors that you are dealing with, that might be more difficult to navigate them this particular example, one of the things that we really, really strongly suggest that you do is to actually create one of these pros and con sheets for every major crisis behavior that you know, you tend to resort to.
So I don't care if that's shutting down, I don't care if it's cutting or binge eating or any number of other things. If you have this done in advance in a time when you are in wise mind instead of an emotion mind. You can then pull out the sheet you can create a distress tolerance kit, distress tolerance kit, which we're going to talk about as we move through this module, and have these listed out to literally read through and help you recenter into the moment it can be really, really helpful.
All right. And with that, we will call it a day.