Four Leaf Clover

Therapy for Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB)

What are Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB)?

Pulling or plucking hair is often a part of normal grooming behavior. So is picking or scratching at blemishes or unwanted bumps on your body. However, for some people, this behavior can become excessive and negatively impact other areas of life.

People with Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB) like hair pulling and skin picking do not wish to cause themselves pain or harm in any way. Instead, they often report their behavior as a pleasurable or satisfying activity that can result in long periods of picking or pulling without the person realizing the negative impact they are having on their appearance. Because of this, many people with BFRB have mixed feelings about their behavior. On the one hand, it can feel very satisfying to successfully pick a blemish or bump that was bothersome. However, the negative impact on their appearance and what others think of them often causes feelings of shame and embarrassment about the behavior afterward.

How to Stop Hair Pulling or Skin Picking

BFRB can be very frustrating not only to the person who is picking but to family members and loved ones who do not understand why the person cannot “just stop.” Learning to stop is more than just a game of will power because the picking is more complex than just a bad habit.

Help for Wellness provides Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which is what research has shown to be one of the most successful ways to help people learn how to stop BFRB.

CBT starts by helping you understand the emotional and physical triggers, situational factors, and associated behaviors involved in the picking. After understanding those triggers, alternative coping strategies are taught to each person with their triggers kept in mind, therefore, not every person will benefit from the same coping strategies. These strategies are meant to provide competing motor responses that will direct you away from picking/pulling or strategies to help you cope with emotional triggers more effectively. For some people, modifying the physical aspects of your surroundings helps to reduce the urge to pick/pull.

If you tend to have more emotional triggers for your picking, then the strategies might involve learning how to more accurately identify your feelings and what to do to help you process them more effectively.

When working with children or adolescents who are picking, parents are heavily involved in the therapy to help them understand their child’s behaviors. This helps provide parents with support and feedback on how they can best help their child.

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Help for Wellness (HFW) provides online therapy services for California, Washington, and Utah residents to help them unlock their potential to live healthier, happier, and more fulfilled lives. We also offer workshops, talks, and consultation services.