People who are incapable of controlling their body functions and thoughts tend to lack self-control, so that they become slaves to their disorders.
When you develop self-control, you will have the ability to control your own behaviors and thoughts, especially in terms of reactions and impulses.
Psycho-Educational Session: Teaching the social skill - maintaining impulse control
Q: How do you define impulse control?
A: Impulse control is the process of learning to STOP and LOOK at the consequences of your actions before you commit yourself to something. When we have impulse control, we have the ability to STOP and THINK who else will be affected by our actions. We see the consequences ahead of our action.
Simulation: Timmy commits himself by impulses. Timmy obviously has a problem of saying no, and a problem of setting his own boundaries. When someone asks Timmy to do something, he instantly ignores his own responsibility to help that person. How can we help Timmy? Timmy has his own responsibilities in which has fallen behind because he took time that he did not have to help others.
To help Timmy, we must look at the signs of lost control:
1. Acting impulsively, which consumes our time and burns our energies, and robs us of our resources.
2. The person feels driven, compelled, and thinks of nothing else.
3. The person feels that one decision is the only possible answer (seeing only inside the box), which leads to irrational thinking.
Obviously, Timmy is setting himself up for more problems. Therefore, to help him after seeing the signs, we can teach him to:
1. Think about others who will be affected by his behavior.
2. Discover how impulsive behaviors affect him.
3. Delay the action by allowing himself time to think through his decision while considering the consequences and alternatives.
4. Find a way to borrow time so he can meditate on his decision.
5. Regroup his thoughts, think back into his past - consider situations he had to get himself out of because of his impulsive behavior. (He should practice these control strategies each time he makes a decision.)
By following the strategies above, it is possible to overcome impulsive behavior that leads to irrational thinking. Yet, we must help Timmy grow by offering him:
Modeling: Self-help strategies
Because we need to depend on ourselves more than on others, it is important to learn self-help strategies.
1. Reward yourself each time you stop and think through a situation instead of acting impulsively.
2. Keep a journal, record your thoughts and feelings about the decisions you make. Consider if you made the decision impulsively.
3. Write a 'Bill of Rights' for yourself and read it when you get ready to make a decision.
Reminders for yourself:
Choices are critical and it means a lot when we can make our own choices without persuasion from others. When we make our own choices, we have the freedom to act on our choices, or say no. Choices put us in charge of ourselves rather than allowing others to control us.
Consequences of acting impulsively:
1. Consequences from impulsive behaviors include confusion, self-loathing, and feeling out of control. These conditions lead to selfishness, guilt, shame, and doubt.
2. The results of acting impulsively leads to struggles, because a lot of your time is wasted trying to resolve conflicts in your own mind. Problems develop in relationships, money is spent wastefully, and time is consumed.
Timmy: Hey Liza, I just saw this great ad in the paper. They're selling the new iPods. I think I'll buy one.
Liza: How much is it?
Timmy: Only $300.
Liza: I realize you really want this new iPod, Timmy, but honestly, can you afford it? You said last week that you're struggling for cash to pay your bills.
Timmy: It means working harder, but I think I can afford it.
Liza: Remember how stressed you were last week trying to find the money to pay your rent? Did you pay your rent?
Timmy: No, I still owe my landlord $200. I used some of the money to buy a new stereo.
Liza: Timmy, look at your "plus vs. minus ratio." How will this new iPod benefit you? How will it affect you if you choose to buy it?
Timmy: Well, I'll have more choices in audio. But, if I don't pay my rent next week, I'll be evicted.
Liza: Timmy, do you think you can consider this decision more before you go out and buy the new iPod? Perhaps talk it over with your family and friends first.
Timmy, I suppose I can, but what if it sells out by the time I make my choice.
Liza: Good point, but let's keep talking about this issue before you make a decision.
Eliciting feedback from Liza and Timmy in the role-play setting allowed them to focus on the behavior and not the personality.
Now, assign yourself a Decision-Balance Matrix (Example Table 10:4).
Personal time commitment for self and others
|(+) Positive consequences
||(+) Negative consequences
|Social and family relationships
|Job and career responsibilities
|Leisure time pursuits
|Religion and community obligations
Building Self-Control involves building confidence and self-esteem.
Building Confidence and Self-Esteem
To build confidence and self-esteem, one must build self-concept, or self-awareness first. Develop an image of self by learning ways to increase self-awareness, and this will result in building self-esteem.
Next, we must consider self-disclosure, which is a process of revealing self to others, or to another person. Sometimes when we talk to strangers or even people we know, we feel anxious. This is known as social anxiety. The cause is related to low self-esteem and lack of confidence in one's ability to communicate effectively.
Self-concept - Self-Awareness - Self-Esteem
Self-concept is the way people imagine others see them.
To develop self-awareness, you have to know yourself. It involves having balance and an honest point of view of your own personality. You are then able to interact with others both frankly and confidently.
Self-esteem is self-respect and confidence in one's own merit as an individual.
Self-concept allows interpersonal communication, and we develop an image of self. When we know who we are, we have self-awareness, or the honest image we develop of self. It is the way we perceive self, including our thoughts and feelings. We know our strengths, weaknesses, limits, talents, abilities, skills when we have a completely developed self-concept. We develop self-concept from images delivered to us by others. We compare the images of other people around us, comparing these images to the self and to others. We also develop self-concept from our cultural background and experiences, including ethnicity, gender roles, gender, and race. Once we piece the elements of our person together we examine (persistently and continually) our thoughts and behavior.
How others see you
Most people who want to know how they look will use a mirror, and see their outer appearance. To find out how assertive or friendly one may be, we use images developed by others to understand our behavior. We consider how they react to or treat us as people. Once you reach full self-awareness, you no longer spend a great deal of time trying to figure out the self because you know who you are.
Consider the diagram below to help you understand self-concept: and how it is developed.
The Nondirectional Circle represents the four starting points of self-concept. All four of the contributors factor into how you view yourself. As you read on, reflect on your chief influences on your makeup, e.g. parents, teachers, siblings, peers, etc and formative factors throughout your life.
Consider your preteen years. Who was the major influence in your life? Consider your life today. Who in your past influences you the most today? Consider your future. In 10 years, who in your past do you think will influence you then?
Life Skills Own-Work Form
Own-Work differs from academic homework in that own-work enforces critical thinking, transferring and reinforcement to other social settings to bring back to the group, to share successes and to combat impulsive behavior.
In the previous session, you practiced self-control steps including how to control impulses and build self-esteem and confidence. The self-control development will continue on to the next steps of the online therapy program