(45) Removing the Link Between Diagnosis and Behavior

Whether working as a therapist, social worker, or psychiatrist, the question often comes up as to how to address behavioral change, how to make it happen, and how to speed it up; and inevitably the client or patient will make some comment about addressing their mental health, it’s why they’re here right? Often this concern is going to be phrased in some version of “my x-diagnosis is making me do y-behavior”

We’re going to explore why that isn’t the case and why thinking this way perpetuates a great deal of harm, shame, and lack of flexibility in addressing difficulties in life.

Nature of Behavior:

  1. Everyone is interested in seeing that their behavior has an effect, that what they do changes reality in the way of mattering to them.
  2. What those effects are, is weighted according to an identified Value the person is looking to serve.
  3. How those Values are seen to connect to behavior is through a worldview or perspective.
  4. Behavior is about supporting that worldview, by engaging in actions that make it more real or felt to be more consistent or right/accurate.

Nature of Diagnosis:

  1. Diagnoses are descriptive, not prescriptive
  2. Particular behaviors can fall under different diagnostic categories depending on context
  3. Even within that spectrum of behavioral possibility, there’s no inevitability in behavioral expression within a particular timeframe or social context