Remaining in Control of Our Emotions

Available with English captions and subtitles in Hindi and Spanish.

Sharing tips we can all use, Dr. Choi-Kain breaks down what she has learned about managing emotions from treating patients with borderline personality disorder.

COVID-19 has created heightened emotions for everyone, often bringing feelings of lack of control, helplessness, and isolation to many.

To protect your mental health during this unprecedented time, it’s important to take care of your personality when it’s out of sync from our new, fluctuating environment.

Lois W. Choi-Kain, MEd, MD, discusses lessons learned from borderline personality disorder (BPD) treatment that help us to manage high emotions, embrace key components of your personality, and become more comfortable with uncertainty.

Dr. Choi-Kain shares techniques to be collaborative in high-stress situations, regulate emotion, and get back on track.

This content is also available in Spanish.

Audience Questions

Dr. Choi-Kain answers a few questions from attendees including:

  • How can I keep myself from getting angry, anxious, or upset easily?
  • What’s the best way to handle emotional cycling if you are somebody’s caregiver? It seems like there’s been a hard time with keeping your own emotion in check and a lot of people have expressed frustration in that it seems like they can’t actually reach the people that they’re caring for.
  • Any suggestions on how to not over-interpret how other people are feeling and how they are emoting? Everybody is stressed, everybody is anxious, but how do you maintain your own emotions and not take on other people’s feelings?

Top 10 Lessons From Therapies for BPD

According to Choi-Kain, BPD teaches us quite a bit about surviving crises:

  • Emotion (dys)regulation is like a snowball.
  • Uncertainty is uncomfortable and essential.
  • Acceptance of painful realities is the road to surviving pain with less suffering.
  • Reflection improves relationships and relationships improve reflection.
  • Be descriptive, not judgmental.
  • Aim to be effective, rather than right.
  • Curiosity opens conversations, trust, and learning.
  • It is easier (and less costly) to control yourself than to control others.
  • Happiness is a fleeting state. Goals and values last longer.
  • We are doing the best we can and can always do better.

About Dr. Choi-Kain

Lois W. Choi-Kain, MEd, MD, is the director of the Gunderson Personality Disorders Institute. With her mentor, John Gunderson, Dr. Choi-Kain developed a training program for general psychiatric management (GPM), a generalist treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD) that any mental health professional can be trained to provide. She has also led a number of projects to increase access to care worldwide through teaching, supervision, and consultation.

As an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Choi-Kain actively conducts research on BPD. Her research focuses on personality disorders, attachment, psychotherapy, and accessibility of care.

Learn more about Dr. Choi-Kain.

More COVID-19 Resources

It’s important to think about ways to manage your mental health during these difficult times. McLean is committed to providing mental health and self-care resources for all who may need them. You and your family may find these strategies from McLean experts helpful to feel mentally balanced and safe during the coronavirus outbreak.

Learn more on our COVID-19 mental health resources page or get access to our COVID-19 Webinar Series.