Anxiety #6 of 6

Adolescent Emotional Growth Continuum 

    1. Severe Emotional & Behavioral dysregulation requiring a restrictive setting (inpatient or residential) 
    1. Emotional and/or Behavioral Disorder
    1. Significant Dysregulation in one or more domains
    1. At-Risk Adolescents characterized by mild or early indicators of mental health needs (e.g., school difficulties, attentional problems, sad or anxious mood, family conflict)
    1. Typical Adolescence (allows for Isolated or contextual dysregulation):  normal moodiness, occasional relational difficulties, and perhaps experimentation with risky behaviors
  1. Growth Mindset characterized by Resiliency, Competence and Confidence.
Dysregulation Domains Social and Emotional (SEL)Learning Domains Tactical Skill
Challenge Area Goal How to Achieve
Self-dysregulation Self-Awareness & Creativity Mindful Action
Behavioral Dysregulation Self-management Distress Tolerance
Emotion Dysregulation Emotion Management Emotion Regulation
Interpersonal Dysregulation Empathy & Teamwork Interpersonal Effectiveness
Cognitive dysregulation &

family Conflict

Responsibility and Problem Solving Flexible Thinking & Value Clarification

Characteristics of Challenges

  • Self-dysregulation:  Lacking awareness of emotions, thoughts, action urges; poor attentional control; unable to reduce one’s suffering while also having difficulty accessing pleasure; identity confusion, sense of emptiness, and dissociation.
  • Behavioral dysregulation:  Impulsive behaviors such as cutting classes, blurting out in class, spending money, risky sexual behavior, risky online behavior, bingeing and/or purging, drug and alcohol abuse, aggressive behaviors, suicidal and nonsuicidal self-injurious behaviors.
  • Emotion dysregulation:  Emotional vulnerability; emotional reactivity; emotional lability; angry outburst; steady negative emotional states such as depression, anger, shame, anxiety, and guilt; deficits in positive emotions and difficulty in modulating emotions.
  • Interpersonal dysregulation:  Unstable relationships, interpersonal conflicts, chronic family disturbance, social isolation, efforts to avoid abandonment, and difficulties getting wants and needs met in relationships and maintaining one’s self-respect in relationships.
  • Cognitive dysregulation and family conflict:  Nondialectical thinking and acting (ie., extreme, polarized, or black-or-white), poor perspective taking and conflict resolution, invalidation of self and other, difficulty effectively influencing own and others’ behaviors (i.e., obtaining desired changes).

Tactical Skills that Can be Learned

  • Mindful Action Skills:  are used to decrease identity confusion, feelings of emptiness, and emotion dysregulation
  • Distress Tolerance Skills:  are used to decrease impulsive behavior, suicide threats, and self-injury behaviors
  • Emotion Regulation Skills:  are used to effectively cope with anger, fear, shame and sadness
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills:  are used to decrease interpersonal chaos and feeling of abandonment. they are skills that are used to ask for effectively, to set boundaries, and to say “no” effectively
  • Flexible Thinking & Value Clarification Skills:  are used to develop a Growth Mindset vs. a Fixed Mindset while guiding action around connecting, giving, being active, challenging oneself


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