DBT skills in addiction recovery
If you find that you easily become angry, depressed, anxious or feel panic in response to life events, then you might be struggling to balance emotions and DBT could help.
DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) involves a number of simple skills to help manage life situations. A counsellor can teach you some of these skills and they might help to stop your anger, depression, anxiety or panic from becoming out of control.
S T O P or the 'stop skill' is an example…
When something is beginning to make you feel very angry or very scared, try following these four steps.
1) Stop – as if you are in front of a big red traffic light. Imagine this in front of you and stop whatever you are about to say or do. Don’t do or say anything.
2) Take a step back – maybe you could imagine that you are shrinking backwards and you might find it helpful to create a scene in your mind for this, like being in a cinema. You could imagine the stressful situation as the screen and allow yourself to shrink backwards away from it… to the back row. If you don’t think you can stay in the situation, then take a step back by getting out for a while, either saying that you are going out or if you are feeling too worked up to speak, then just try leaving.
3) Observe – to notice what is happening within your body. Maybe your breathing has become rapid or your palms are feeling sweaty, your face might be burning or you might have a clutching feeling in your tummy.
4) Proceed mindfully – breathing may help you to feel calmer but if you are still feeling very worked up, then avoid saying or doing anything. Put the situation on hold and wait until tomorrow to let your emotions have time to settle.
If you like the idea of working with DBT, then counselling coaching can teach you a number of simple skills that may help with emotional instability that might threaten the success of your recovery.
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About Claire Sainsbury
Claire Sainsbury is an integrative counsellor and coach with a special interest in helping people change unhealthy life habits to promote a better quality of living.