Resource: Behavioral Chain Analysis of Problem Behavior

22 Apr

My Behavior Chain Analysis of Problem Behavior

What is the major PROBLEM BEHAVIOR that I am analyzing?     Suicidal thoughts and voices.

What prompting event IN THE ENVIRONMENT started me on the chain to my problem behavior?  Start day: Thursday 4/16/15  *  (8am) I woke up in a sad mood with a heavy feeling and dread (feeling) and knew it would be a day I would have to fight through to be successful (thought)  * (8pm) Going to 20 something’s group. Anxious, guilty, and dread (feeling).  I hope tonight’s group goes well.  MV is leading it I don’t really like her.  I wonder if it was a good idea to come. (thoughts)  * (9pm) Going to Chipotle to hang out afterwards.  Anxious, ignored, upset (feelings)  I’m beginning to think this wasn’t a good idea.  I should leave now.  If I leave what will the people think. (thoughts)

What things in myself and my environment made me VULNERABLE?  * Already having stress and problems regarding the 20 something’s group. *Woke up in a bad mood.  * Exhausted from using skills earlier that day * Stressing about impending leaving of 20 something’s friend  *No structure after group in hang out time  *Social anxiety

Chain Analysis.  What were the LINKS IN THE CHAIN (Actions, Body sensations, cognitions, feelings, and events)

  1. Actual- 8 am woke up in a bad mood, wanted to go back to bed, skip school and other responsibilities.  Used DBT Skills to get through the first part of the morning. Distraction with activities worked on Smash book, Distraction with contributions worked on pocket letter swap.   Skillful alternative- I think I used my skills wisely
  2. Actual- 11:30am leave for school.  Opposite action didn’t want to go to school. Skillful alternative- I think I used my skills wisely
  3. Actual- 3pm Still in a bad mood.  Start thinking why me, this isn’t fair, I shouldn’t have to deal with this.  Skillful alternative- Willingness over Willfulness, not be as stubborn
  4. Actual 8pm Go to Group.  Using opposite action.  anxious, annoyed  Skillful alternative: should have skipped group and rested.
  5. Actual 9pm Go to Chipolte after group.  Anxious.  Skillful alternative: could have went home
  6. Actual 9:15 20 something’s friend tells me he won’t be able to study Sunday night and will be studying with a classmate from Physics but we can study Saturday night.  Immediately feelings hurt, rejected, angry and like he should have known better (I had texted/facebooked earlier it was a rough day) Thoughts: Not a good time to bring this up.  Try to act normal.   This shouldn’t be such a big deal.  Skillful Alternative:  Tell him that my feelings were hurt even though it was kinda irrational and immature, better communication.
  7. Actual 9:20 Get to Chipotle and there is no seating inside.  I am one of the first ones there and the first facilitator there.  Feelings annoyed, anxious Thoughts: Are we going to have to go somewhere else.  I don’t want to make the decision.  I’m not assertive I’ll wait for another facilitator to solve the problem.  Skillful alternative: Let it go until the other facilitators get there.  Don’t personalize, it’s not my responsibility.
  8. Actual 9:30 Ask 20 something’s friend about what group project he is working on with Physics classmate.  He responds it’s not a project and they are just doing exercises together.  Feeling: more hurt, more angry, unimportant, rejected.  Thoughts: I guess I’m not important and it doesn’t matter if I’m around in fact I don’t matter.  I should not study Saturday out of Spite.  He should know better.  Skillful Alternative: communicate better don’t personalize
  9. Actual 9:35 I begin to shut down, looking at my phone.  Anxiety is building.  Voices begin whispering.  Feelings: scared, angry, hurt, unimportant Thoughts: I’m just not going to say anything.  Don’t bother no one likes you here anyways.  Why are the voices whispering.  Skillful Alternative:  Go home, temporarily push away. Distress tolerance skills
  10. Actual 9:40 A person who was at group who I don’t know asks me if I’m ok. Voices get louder  Feelings: Freak out, anxious,  Thoughts: They know somethings going on.  Is it that obvious.  I can’t tolerate these voices.  They’re right no one likes me. Skillful Alternative:  Go home, push away temporarily.  Mindfulness Skills
  11. Actual 9:45 Start obsessing over how I’m going to leave.  Voices are now loud and repetitive I can’t concentrate.  Feel on the verge of tears.  Test my sister what should I do.  Skillful Alternative: Go home, push away temporarily
  12. Actual 9:50 Leave awkwardly.  Begin crying MD chases after me my voice is cracking as I’m trying to lie and say I’m okay. Feeling: sad, embarrassed, annoyed.  Thought: Now she’s going to tell everyone I was crying and upset.  She/They will think less of me.  Skillful Alternative: Made a more natural exit hugging and leaving like usual.  Wait to fall apart till I got to the car. Briefly tell MD something’s wrong but I’ll be okay. 
  13. Actual 10:00-10:30 Drive home crying.  My sister calls I say I don’t want to talk.  Get home take to Valium.  Feeling: Desperate, angry, hurt, embarrassed, guilty.  Thoughts. I can’t handle this.  Skillful alternative: ?

 What exactly were the CONSEQUENCES in the environment?

  1. Short term-  people wondering “is she ok?” Concern
  2. Long term-  people show a desire to connect and help and if I shut them out, they’re less likely to help in the future and maybe creates distance.  Showed some feeling but better if I talked it through. People may start walking on egg shells not sure how I’ll react. Ignore me because I don’t respond. Positive MD reached out, saw distress, wanted to help.

And in myself?

  1. Short term- Feelings escalated. Tunnel vision.
  2. Long term- I know how to avoid. Internal distress doesn’t go away. Miss the opportunity to see people expressing that they care but your too focused on avoiding.

Ways to reduce my VULNERABILITY in the future?  Trying to find distress tolerance skills that don’t just work at home. Leave earlier don’t let feelings escalate.

Ways to prevent the PRECIPITATING EVENT from happening again. More distress tolerance skills, besides ones I can just use at home.  Recognizing my sensitivity,and  maybe stopping when your ahead.

What HARM did my problem behavior cause? Other people worrying about me. Avoiding never gets the problems solved.

Plans to REPAIR, CORRECT, and OVER-CORRECT the harm? Text MD that I appreciated her coming after me but I wasn’t ready to talk about it. Conversation with 20 somethings friend to practice communication.

My deepest thoughts and feelings about this that I want to share.

The voices are back, scaring me. Knowing what triggered me, but not much about how to prevent it. I need to learn some distress tolerance for on the go.    Learning that it’s somewhat normal to react immaturely and irrationally sometimes.  I don’t want to have such a severe reaction again.

How to do a problem behavior chain analysis:

What exactly is the major PROBLEM BEHAVIOR that I am analyzing?

  1. Describe the specific problem behavior (ex: substance abuse, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, parasuicidal acts, angry outbursts, missing a group session, or other targeted behaviors.)
  2. Be specific and detailed in describing characteristics of the behavior, thoughts or feelings that are important.
  3. Describe the problem behavior in enough detail that an actor or actress in a movie could recreate the behavior exactly.

What prompting event IN THE ENVIRONMENT started me on the chain to my problem behavior?

  1. Describe in detail the specific prompting event in the environment that started the chain reaction, even it it doesn’t see that event “caused” the problem behavior.
  2. Identify when the sequence of events began.  What happened first or started the problem behavior?
  3. Describe exactly what was going on in the environment the moment the problem started.
  4. Describe exactly what was going on in you (what you were doing, thinking, imagining, feeling) the moment the prompting event started.

What things in myself and my environment made me VULNERABLE?

  1. Describe vulnerability factors happening before the prompting event.
  2. What factors or events made you more vulnerable to a problematic chain?
  3. Describe factors in you (ex: use of alcohol, physical illness, sleep deprivation), emotions (such as anger or fear), behaviors (such as inactivity or procrastination),occurring before the prompting event that made you more vulnerable.
  4. Describe factors in the environment (ex: being alone, tempting foods available, increased demands at home or work) occurring before the prompting event that made you more vulnerable.

What were the LINKS IN THE CHAIN (actions, body sensations, cognitions, feelings, events)

  1. Imagine the problem behavior is chained to the prompting event.
  2. Write out all the links in the chain between the prompting event and the problem behavior.  Detail each and  every link.
  3. Be very specific, as if you were writing a script for a play or a chapter for a novel.
  4. Describe the exact thought, feeling, action, sensation, or event that followed the prompting event.
  5. Notice which comes first… the sensations? feeling? thought? Describe the links in the sequence in which they occur.
  6. Then describe what thought, feeling, action, sensation, or event followed that.  What followed next Then next after that, etc
  7. For each link in the chain, ask is their another link that went with it?  Was there another thought, feeling, action, sensation, or event that occurred?  Describe these additional links.
  8. Describe in detail what you could have done differently at each link of the chain of events to avoid the problem behavior.  Describe the specific skills you could have used to replace the links and avoid the problem behavior.

What exactly were the CONSEQUENCES in the environment?

  1. Describe the consequences of the problem behavior.
  2. Describe the consequences that reinforce the problem behavior (ie. make it more likely to happen again ex: temporary decrease in emotional intensity, increased sense of power over others, etc.)
  3. Describe the consequences in the environment (effects on the environment and others’ reactions) immediately following the problem behavior and after.

And in myself?

  1. Describe the consequences in you (how you felt, what you thought, what you did) immediately following the problem behavior and later.

Ways to reduce VULNERABILITY in the future

Describe in detail ways you can prevent the chain of events from starting by reducing your vulnerability to the chain.  For example: improve sleep habits, don’t purchase large amounts of tempting foods, balance work with relaxation

Ways to stop the PRECIPITATING EVENT from happening again>

Describe in detail things you can do to prevent the prompting event from happening again.  For example, make agreements with spouse to take a time out before an argument escalates and then follow through on the agreement.

What HARM did my problem behavior cause?

  1. Describe in detail the damage or harm your problem behavior caused for you and others.
  2. What did you just harm by engaging in the problem behavior (eg: your self-esteem, self-confidence, belief you can control yourself, relationships with others, etc)?

Plans to REPAIR, CORRECT, and OVER-CORRECT the harm

  1. Describe in detail what you will do to repair what you’ve damaged with the problem behavior.
  2. What exactly will you do to correct, for example, the blow to your self- confidence the interference in relationships that the problem behavior caused?

My deepest thoughts and feelings about this (THAT I WANT TO SHARE)

  1. Spend some time encouraging and allowing your deepest thoughts and feelings to surface about this chain of events and problem behavior.
  2. Write your deepest thoughts and feeling that you feel comfortable to share.

7 Responses to “Resource: Behavioral Chain Analysis of Problem Behavior”

  1. cazzroo April 23, 2015 at 11:37 PM #

    great to see you being mindful and the witness to what is going on – its the only way to make positive changes when you recognise what you are doing and then why and how to change!! well done you!!!! so much love to you and blessings for your coming through this! so very insightful!!!! it never ends btw – but it gets easier to see the insights as blessings and help to change to our most highest potential being!! 🙂 xxxxx

  2. prideinmadness April 24, 2015 at 6:36 AM #

    This is great!

    • mm172001 April 24, 2015 at 10:37 AM #

      I have it in worksheet form. Do you think it’s be beneficial to post the worksheets in .pdf?

  3. Darque April 25, 2015 at 8:48 PM #

    Reblogged this on Darque Thoughts.


  1. Doing Well | Marci, Mental Health, & More - April 24, 2015

    […] and 3 different providers to help me figure most of it out.  You can see it on my last post of the behavior chain analysis.  I also improved some communication skills the therapist suggested and much to my surprise they […]

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