The Stress Model, developed by Dr. Bryan Post, is a theoretical model that explains the root cause of problematic behavior. In fact, if you are able to fully grasp the stress model, and the wide-ranging implications for its applicability, it will enable you to begin creating a healing dynamic for your family within the next moment!

The Stress Model says, "All behavior arises from a state of stress. In between the state of stress (albeit good stress or bad stress) and the behavior, is the presence of an emotion. It is through the expression, processing, and understanding of the emotion that we can calm the stress (reducing the bodymind's overwhelming stress reaction) and diminish the behavior.

Stress Model

Critical Points:

  • We only have two primary emotions: Love and Fear. That which does not look, feel, and can be perceived as loving, stems from a primary root of fear. Fear is the only viable opposite to Love. Yet, as it stands alone, love truly has no opposite. That which is not love is only fear. Examples, anger, jealousy, defiance, attachment disorder, anxiety, and depression, just to name a few. These various feelings and behaviors stem from a primary root of fear.
  • The expression of emotion triggers fear reactions in others. When this occurs we are only able to see a threat. For instance, a child saying "no" to a parent creates an immediate stress reaction for the parent. This reaction will lead to a cascade of fear emotions on behalf of the parent. When this occurs the parent is unable to see clearly the essence of their child's behavior. Remember, when you feel threatened or afraid, you cannot see another person's fear because you are in a self-protect mode.
  • According to Dr. Bruce Perry, M.D. we all respond to stress in one of two different ways, by becoming either hyper-aroused or hypo-aroused. These two states are referred to as states of affect dysregulation. Our ultimate drive is to live in a state of regulation (love) this state is referred to as the optimal state of functioning and development. Remember, some degree of stress is pertinent to our healthy growth and development, but too much stress leaves us trapped in a state of fear. If your child is chronically acting out or misbehaving, he or she is attempting to communicate to you that he or she is in a state of fear and overwhelming stress that cannot be interrupted without parental assistance.

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