chapter  6
The cycle of Self-Destructive Behaviors
Pages 10

We should use the context of therapy to explain, and simultaneously diagram, the cycle. Visualizing the process makes it more tangible and less overwhelming and often helps our clients achieve a fundamental understanding of their self-destructive actions. It also normalizes and universalizes the behavior, making it less secretive and shame based. With a concrete explanation that defines and describes behavior that seems weird, elusive, and bewildering, the cycle helps our clients feel validated, less anxious, and able to reclaim a sense of hope. Processing the cycle puts the behavior into a situational, cognitive, and emotional context. It illustrates how one experience naturally leads to another, and when those experiences are not adequately addressed or shortcircuited, self-destructive behaviors become an inevitable response.