Analyze The Problem – Behavior Chains

Looking to start over again in 2019?

Many people come to Christian Counseling Associates (CCA) looking to make changes, not only in how they feel, but in their overall lifestyle. Many are searching for an understanding of why they struggle with painful emotions or dysfunctional relationships.

Analyze the Problem: Behavior Chains

Our counselors are ready to take the journey with you in discovering where you are “stuck” and provide strategies for meaningful change. One key way to unlock this potential is to become aware of the “chains” that keep us stuck in dysfunctional life patterns.

The ability to analyze our behavior allows us to more closely determine what causes it. If we want to make a change in our lives, we need to gain awareness about the current behavior and why we do it. Extensive psychological research has identified connections in how thoughts and emotions affect overall behavior. Based on this clinical research, the Behavior Chain Analysis model helps us gain perspective on habits and emotions that are common struggles for those who seek counseling. Here is the basic approach:

Discover the Connection: Trigger – Thought – Action – Consequence

  • Triggers – can be any person, place or thing that evokes a reaction. It can be an external event like being in particular a place, or with a certain person. It can be an internal event, such as a memory or a passing feeling. Generally, in any behavior or habit, there is always a triggering event.
  • Thoughts – follow a triggering event that spring to mind. These thoughts can come in the form of words or they can come in images, or things pictured in our mind that capture our attention.
  • Actions – many times, we react to thoughts, without seriously analyzing or questioning them. These reactions are related to the original triggering event. Actions in the chain of behavior can either be functional or dysfunctional.
  • Consequences – follow the preceding chain of events and now produce altered life outcomes. Since this type of sequence forms a behavioral pattern, once analyzed, it can be fairly easy to gain perspective on how habits and emotional patterns affect our daily lives.

The goal of using this type of analysis is to identify the “chains” that bind you to dysfunctional consequences in your life. These outcomes can be associated with broken relationships, addiction, or disordered emotion. Awareness of these behavioral chains become an important tool in the process of change.

Identifying Your “Old Way” of Life


“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

Ephesians 4:22 – 24 (NLT)


As Christians, we begin a journey of change with the Lord, when we accept the Grace and Truth of Jesus Christ. Then we are called to begin a daily process of growth, by a renewing of our thoughts and attitudes. God’s word found in the passage above instructs us to put on the new self, to head in a new direction. He gives us the ability to analyze old, broken ways and habits, so that we can see clearly to follow His new way. Analyzing behavior chains can be one tool that allows us to become aware of old patterns or habits which helps in throwing off the old way, and embracing true change.

Take Action

Take the next week and identify some challenging consequences in your life. Then work backward. What are the triggers, thoughts and actions associated with these old ways or patterns that have caused pain and dysfunction?

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