Why consider the function of behavior?

People sometimes behave in ways that are not understandable! Extreme and out-of-control behaviors can result in relationship ruptures and endings,  strain, awkwardness, discomfort, and avoidance of talking about “what happened.”

The function of a behavior has to do with the purpose that the behavior serves for a person. Often confusing, problematic, and egregious behaviors have some benefit for a person.

Some functions of extreme behaviors may include: Emphasizing a point, communicating the importance of something, making a statement, expressing outrage or protest, being taken seriously, reducing anxiety, feeling reassured or calmed down, feeling cared about or secure about the future, feeling *something*, being independent, having a say in a situation, being included, or letting someone know that something is important or meaningful.

Understanding function often helps people to problem-solve, to communicate more effectively, to be able to validate experience, to let go of situations or relationships that won’t change, and to find compassion for self and others.