ABSTRACT

This chapter describes how emotion regulation is not, as some think, simply the reduction or elimination of an unpleasant feeling. The art of regulating emotion is to match the intensity that is required by the circumstances, developing the skill of being able to increase or decrease the intensity of the feeling at will. An example is given showing how skilful people perform this feat without noticing, and describing why certain clinical populations have difficulty. The author then describes what is meant by taking a dialectical approach, the central concept of DBT. Not only do emotions themselves have to be regulated dialectically, i.e. increased or decreased to fit the facts, but any problem-solving of emotion also has to be dialectical.