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Emotional Dysregulation Tip Sheet for Professionals

Emotional dysregulation refers to moods that are unstable, and unpredictable within a socially acceptable range.

Look for These Difficulties

  • Saying or doing things without regard for safety/impulsive
  • Trouble knowing when to stop an activity
  • Moods shift rapidly
  • Intention and behavior may be disconnected such as laughing at a sad story
  • Social isolation


  • Take the individual to a quiet area
  • In a moment of intense emotion, ask the individual to pause and record (out loud or on paper) their emotions
  • Use mindfulness techniques
  • Predictability and consistency is key; try to schedule your meetings at the same time
  • Distracted or agitated individuals can benefit from physical grounding techniques. (For example, ask your client to describe a small object from the room, in great detail, for 60 seconds.)

Rewarding positive behavior creates a trend of more prosocial behaviors.