Saturday, April 26, 2014

Self-Regulation Skills: From Exposure to Application

Who would believe that showing someone a film of a soccer game and defining the terms would be sufficient in developing the skills necessary to play soccer effectively? We understand that exposing individuals to new things is a very important first step. But we also understand that more must happen if we expect the skills to develop. Soccersmall.JPG
Evidence indicating that healthy Self-Regulation skills are critical for success and happiness continues to mount. Our ability to manage our own thoughts, feelings and behaviors in response to life's challenges significantly impacts how successful and happy we will be.
The first step in Self-Regulation Training is exposure. The Self-Regulation Training System suggests that there is an organized, systematic way for teaching these skills in three skill-training areas:
  • Physical Regulation - learning our body's warning signs and how to calm down when we feel these warning signs
  • Emotional Regulation - learning to accurately label our emotions, express them in healthy ways, and take ownership of them
  • Cognitive Regulation - learning to identify and challenge unhealthy thinking, get needs met in healthy ways, plan and problem solve effectively
    SRProjectSmall.JPGAs with learning any new skill, there is a process involved. The first step in learning a new skill is exposure. We are first exposed to the concepts and given the vocabulary. We begin to understand the language. We are fairly good at teaching this level of skill-building.
    However, this is unfortunately where we like to stop, or where we can get stuck with teaching a new set of skills. This seems to be especially true when it comes to emotional and behavioral skills. We seem to do a much better job with other types of skills like sports or academics... possibly because these skills are easier to measure and can be more clearly demonstrated.
    If we want individuals to move from exposure to application of new skills, we need to progress through the process of true skill-development. Here are a few important elements to consider when moving from exposure to application:
  • Practice & Repetition - Healthy Self-Regulation skills don't always seem to come naturally. It's very important to practice, especially when individuals have had several years of exposure to unhealthy self-regulation. Be creative and come from different angles.
  • Reinforcement - Once skills have been taught and consistent expectations have been put into place, use consequences (positive and negative) to reinforce the skills you want to see. Point out natural consequences and draw attention to real-life examples of how Self-Regulation skills lead to success.
  • Connect Skills to Purpose & Meaning - Human beings are great at associating concepts. Help individuals make the connections between healthy Self-Regulation skills and success. Skills become much stronger when we realize how much better things go for us when we use them.
    Remember, exposure is a great first step, but when we are wanting to build skills, we need to continue the process. We will never be perfect at Self-Regulation skills. It's an ongoing process, but any improvements we are able to make will have dramatic effects on our performance, our happiness and the happiness of those around us.


Brad Chapin LCP, LMLP said...

Visit for more information on the Self-Regulation Training System.

Brittany Matthews said...

My sister is needing some training. She has been looking into a certain kind of nationally recognised training. I hope she try the right company.

Bobby Roosco said...

This article made a good point. You can't expect a kid to be good at soccer just by watching. Yes it will make him a little better but he won't be making good strides without application. It's just like going to work and getting trained. A task may seem simple until you start doing it and you didn't notice the little details.

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Patricia Morrison said...

Hi there, great article...but can you explain to me what self regulation is?

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