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Internalizing Behaviors: Definition & Examples Video

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  • 0:01 Internalizing Behaviors
  • 0:41 What Are Internalizing…
  • 1:37 Internalizing &…
  • 2:27 Effects of…
  • 3:08 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Internalizing behaviors are negative, problematic behaviors that are directed toward the self. Learn about internalizing behaviors, their effects, how they differ from externalizing behaviors, and more.

Internalizing Behaviors

Imagine that you're a psychologist working with a 14-year-old female client. You notice she is very shy and withdrawn in your therapy sessions. She frequently makes self-degrading statements such as 'I am so stupid' or 'I should have known better.' As your sessions continue, you notice that she has very low self-esteem. You notice that she has cut marks on her wrist. You ask her about them and she tells you that she is cutting in order to deal with her emotions. Your client's cutting, low self-esteem, and degrading comments about herself are examples of internalizing behavior.

What Are Internalizing Behaviors?

Internalizing behaviors are behaviors that result from negativity that is focused inward. People with internalizing behaviors have difficulty coping with negative emotions or stressful situations, so they direct their feelings inside. For example, a young girl may respond to being bullied by a peer by blaming herself or withdrawing from social activities. Because they occur on the inside, internalizing behaviors are usually not visible to others.

Examples of internalized behaviors include:

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