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DBT workbook

Postby pamelaperejil » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:28 am

Is anyone interested in going through this DBT workbook together?

The Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills Worksbook: Practial DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotional Regulation, and Distress Tolerance

Matthew McCay PhD, Jeffrey C. Wood PsyD, Jeffrey Brantley MD
previously known as: pleasnpetrichor, perejil

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"
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Re: DBT workbook

Postby jaus tail » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:45 am

I'd like to go through dbt. how do we start?
exhausted
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Re: DBT workbook

Postby pamelaperejil » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:20 am

Give me a day to figure it out.

-- Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:25 pm --

CHAPTER 1
Basic Distress Tolerance Skills
DISTRESS TOLERANCE SKILLS: WHAT ARE THEY?
At some point in our lives, we all have to cope with distress and pain. Either it can be physical,
like a bee sting or a broken arm, or it can be emotional, like sadness or anger. In both cases, the
pain is often unavoidable and unpredictable. You can’t always anticipate when the bee will sting
you or when something will make you sad. Often, the best you can do is to use the coping skills
that you have and hope that they work.
But for some people, emotional and physical pain feels more intense and occurs more frequently
than it does for other people. Their distress comes on more quickly and feels like an
overwhelming tidal wave. Often, these situations feel like they’ll never end, and the people experiencing
them don’t know how to cope with the severity of their pain. For the purposes of this
book, we’ll call this problem overwhelming emotions. (But remember, emotional and physical pain
often occur together.)
People struggling with overwhelming emotions often deal with their pain in very unhealthy,
very unsuccessful ways because they don’t know what else to do. This is understandable. When a
person is in emotional pain, it’s hard to be rational and to think of a good solution. Nevertheless,
many of the coping strategies used by people with overwhelming emotions only serve to make their
problems worse.
Here’s a list of some common coping strategies used by people dealing with this problem.
Check () the ones that you use to cope with your stressful situations:
You spend a great deal of time thinking about past pains, mistakes, and problems.
6 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
You make yourself feel numb with alcohol or drugs.
You take your feelings out on other people by getting excessively angry at them or
trying to control them.
You engage in dangerous behaviors, such as cutting, hitting, picking at, or burning
yourself or pulling out your own hair.
You engage in unsafe sexual activities, such as having sex with strangers or having
frequent unprotected sex.
You avoid dealing with the causes of your problems, such as an abusive or
dysfunctional relationship.
You use food to punish or control yourself by eating too much, not eating at all, or
by throwing up what you do eat.
You attempt suicide or engage in high-risk activities, like reckless driving or taking
dangerous amounts of alcohol and drugs.
You avoid pleasant activities, such as social events and exercise, maybe because you
don’t think that you deserve to feel better.
You surrender to your pain and resign yourself to living a miserable and unfulfilling
life.
All of these strategies are paths to even deeper emotional pain, because even the strategies
that offer temporary relief will only cause you more suffering in the future. Use the Cost of
Self-Destructive Coping Strategies worksheet to see how. Note the strategies that you use as well
as their costs, and then include any additional costs that you can think of. At the end of the
worksheet, feel free to add any of your own strategies that aren’t included as well as their costs.
Basic Distress Tolerance Skills 7
THE COST OF SELF-DESTRUCTIVE COPING STRATEGIES
Self-Destructive Coping Strategy Possible Costs
1. You spend a great deal of time thinking
about past pain, mistakes, and problems.
Miss good things that might be happening
now and then regret missing those things,
too; depression about the past
Other:

2. You get anxious worrying about possible
future pain, mistakes, and problems.
Miss good things that might be happening
now; anxiety about the future
Other:

3. You isolate yourself to avoid possible
pain.
Spend more time alone and, as a result, feel
even more depressed
Other:

4. You use alcohol and drugs to numb
yourself.
Addiction; loss of money; work problems;
legal problems; relationship problems; health
consequences
Other:

5. You take your painful feelings out on
others.
Loss of friendships, romantic relationships,
and family members; other people avoid
you; loneliness; feel bad about hurting other
people; legal consequences of your actions
Other:

6. You engage in dangerous behaviors,
like cutting, pulling out hair, and
self-mutilation.
Possible death; infection; scarring;
disfigurement; shame; physical pain
Other:

8 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
7. You engage in unsafe sexual activity, like
unprotected sex or frequent sex with
strangers.
Sexually transmitted diseases, some life threatening;
pregnancy; shame; embarrassment
Other:

8. You avoid dealing with the causes of
your problems.
Put up with destructive relationships; get
burned-out doing things for other people;
don’t get any of your own needs met;
depression
Other:

9. You eat too much, restrict what you eat,
or throw up what you eat.
Weight gain; anorexia; bulimia; health
consequences; medical treatment;
embarrassment; shame; depression
Other:

10. You have attempted suicide or engaged
in other nearly fatal activities.
Possible death; hospitalization;
embarrassment; shame; depression;
long-term medical complications
Other:

11. You avoid pleasant activities, like social
events and exercise.
Lack of enjoyment; lack of exercise;
depression; shame; isolation
Other:

12. You surrender to your pain and live an
unfulfilling life.
Lots of pain and distress; regrets about your
life; depression
Other:

13.

14.

Basic Distress Tolerance Skills 9
The costs of these self-destructive coping strategies are clear. All of them lead to your pain
being prolonged into long-term suffering. Remember, sometimes pain can’t be avoided, but many
times suffering can.
Take, for example, an argument between friends Maria and Sandra. For Maria, who doesn’t
have overwhelming emotions, the argument was initially painful. But after a few hours, she began
to realize that she and Sandra were both to blame for the argument. So by the next day, Maria
was no longer upset or mad at Sandra. But for Sandra, who struggles with overwhelming emotions,
the argument was replayed in her memory over and over again for three days. Each word
and gesture was remembered as an insult from Maria. So the next time Sandra saw Maria, three
days later, Sandra was still angry and she restarted the argument just where it had ended. Both
women experienced the initial pain of the argument, but only Sandra was suffering. Clearly, Sandra
carried her emotional pain with her for days, and it made her life more of a struggle. While we can’t
always control the pain in our lives, we can control the amount of suffering we have in response
to that pain.
To avoid this type of long-term suffering, chapters 1 and 2 will teach you distress tolerance
skills. These skills will help you endure and cope with your pain in a new, healthier way so that it
doesn’t lead to suffering. The new plan outlined in these two chapters will teach you to “distract,
relax, and cope.”
ABOUT THIS CHAPTER
The first distress tolerance skills you’ll learn in this chapter will help you distract yourself from the
situations that are causing you emotional pain. Distraction skills are important because (1) they
can temporarily stop you from thinking about your pain and, as a result, (2) they give you time to
find an appropriate coping response. Remember how Sandra carried her pain with her for three
days? She couldn’t stop thinking about her argument with Maria. Distraction can help you let go
of the pain by helping you think about something else. Distraction also buys you time so that your
emotions can settle down before you take action to deal with a distressing situation.
However, do not confuse distraction with avoidance. When you avoid a distressing situation,
you choose not to deal with it. But when you distract yourself from a distressing situation, you still
intend to deal with it in the future, when your emotions have calmed down to a tolerable level.
The second group of distress tolerance skills you’ll learn in this chapter are self-soothing
skills (Johnson, 1985; Linehan, 1993b). It’s often necessary to soothe yourself before you face the
cause of your distress because your emotions might be too “hot.” Many people with overwhelming
emotions panic when faced with an argument, rejection, failure, or other painful events. Before
you can address these problems with your new emotion regulation skills (chapters 6 and 7) or your
new interpersonal effectiveness skills (chapters 8 and 9), it’s often necessary to soothe yourself to
regain your strength. In situations like these, distress tolerance skills are similar to refilling the gas
in your car so that you can keep going. Self-soothing is meant to bring you some amount of peace
and relief from your pain so that you can figure out what you’re going to do next.
10 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
Self-soothing skills also serve another purpose. They’ll help you learn to treat yourself compassionately.
Many people with overwhelming emotions have been abused or neglected as children.
As a result, they were taught more about how to hurt than to help themselves. The second purpose
of the self-soothing skills, therefore, is to teach you how to treat yourself kindly and lovingly.
HOW TO USE THIS CHAPTER
As you read the following groups of skills, mark the ones that are helpful to you. This will make
it easier to create a distraction plan for emergencies when you get to the end of this chapter. You’ll
also be shown how to create a list of relaxation skills to help soothe yourself, both at home and
when you’re away. Then, in the next chapter, you’ll learn more advanced distress tolerance skills.
RADICAL ACCEPTANCE
Increasing your ability to tolerate distress starts with a change in your attitude. You’re going to need
something called radical acceptance (Linehan, 1993a). This is a new way of looking at your life. In
the next chapter, you’ll be given some key questions to help you examine your experiences using
radical acceptance. But for now, it will be sufficient to cover this concept briefly.
Often, when a person is in pain, his or her first reaction is to get angry or upset or to blame
someone for causing the pain in the first place. But unfortunately, no matter who you blame for
your distress, your pain still exists and you continue to suffer. In fact, in some cases, the angrier
you get, the worse your pain will feel (Greenwood, Thurston, Rumble, Waters, & Keefe, 2003;
Kerns, Rosenberg, & Jacob, 1994).
Getting angry or upset over a situation also stops you from seeing what is really happening.
Have you ever heard the expression “being blinded by rage”? This often happens to people with
overwhelming emotions. Criticizing yourself all the time or being overly judgmental of a situation is
like wearing dark sunglasses indoors. By doing this, you’re missing the details and not seeing everything
as it really is. By getting angry and thinking that a situation should never have happened,
you’re missing the point that it did happen and that you have to deal with it.
Being overly critical about a situation prevents you from taking steps to change that situation.
You can’t change the past. And if you spend your time fighting the past—wishfully thinking
that your anger will change the outcome of an event that has already happened—you’ll become
paralyzed and helpless. Then, nothing will improve.
So, to review—being overly judgmental of a situation or overly critical of yourself often leads
to more pain, missed details, and paralysis. Obviously, getting angry, upset, or critical doesn’t
improve a situation. So what else can you do?
The other option, which radical acceptance suggests, is to acknowledge your present situation,
whatever it is, without judging the events or criticizing yourself. Instead, try to recognize that your
present situation exists because of a long chain of events that began far in the past. For example,
Basic Distress Tolerance Skills 11
some time ago, you (or someone else) thought you needed help for the emotional pain you were
experiencing. So, a few days later, you went to the bookstore and bought this book. Then today
you thought about reading this chapter, and eventually you sat down, opened the book, and began
reading. Now, you are up to the words you see here. Denying this chain of events does nothing to
change what has already happened. Trying to fight this moment or say that it shouldn’t be only
leads to more suffering for you. Radical acceptance means looking at yourself and the situation
and seeing it as it really is.
Keep in mind that radical acceptance does not mean that you condone or agree with bad
behavior in others. But it does mean that you stop trying to change what’s happened by getting
angry and blaming the situation. For example, if you’re in an abusive relationship and you need to
get out, then get out. Don’t waste your time and continue to suffer by blaming yourself or the other
person. That won’t help you. Refocus your attention on what you can do now. This will allow you
to think more clearly and figure out a better way to cope with your suffering.
Radical Acceptance Coping Statements
To help you begin using radical acceptance, it’s often helpful to use a coping statement to
remind yourself. Below are a few examples and spaces to create your own. Check () the statements
that you would be willing to use to remind yourself that you should accept the present
moment and the chain of events that created it. Then, in the next exercise, you’ll begin using the
statements that you chose.
“This is the way it has to be.”
“All the events have led up to now.”
“I can’t change what’s already happened.”
“It’s no use fighting the past.”
“Fighting the past only blinds me to my present.”
“The present is the only moment I have control over.”
“It’s a waste of time to fight what’s already occurred.”
“The present moment is perfect, even if I don’t like what’s happening.”
“This moment is exactly as it should be, given what’s happened before it.”
“This moment is the result of over a million other decisions.”
Other ideas:

12 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
Exercise: Radical Acceptance
Now, using the coping statements that you checked, begin radically accepting different moments
in your life without judging them. Naturally, it will be difficult to accept very painful situations,
so start with smaller events. Here are some suggestions. Check () the ones you’re willing to do,
and add any of your own ideas. Then use your coping statements to radically accept the situation
without being judgmental or critical.
Read a controversial story in the newspaper without being judgmental about what has
occurred.
The next time you get caught in heavy traffic, wait without being critical.
Watch the world news on television without being critical of what’s happening.
Listen to a news story or a political commentary on the radio without being
judgmental.
Review a nonupsetting event that happened in your life many years ago, and use
radical acceptance to remember the event without judging it.
Other ideas:

DISTRACT YOURSELF FROM
SELF-DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIORS
One of the most important purposes of dialectical behavior therapy is to help you stop engaging in
self-destructive behaviors, such as cutting, burning, scratching, and mutilating yourself (Linehan,
1993a). No one can deny the amount of pain you are in when you engage in one of these behaviors.
Some people with overwhelming emotions say that self-injury temporarily relieves them of some of
the pain they’re feeling. This might be true, but it’s also true that these actions can cause serious
permanent damage and even death if taken to an extreme.
Think about all the pain you’ve already been through in your life. Think about all the people
who have hurt you physically, sexually, emotionally, and verbally. Does it make sense to continue
hurting yourself even more in the present? Doesn’t it make more sense to start healing yourself
and your wounds? If you really want to recover from the pain you’ve already experienced, stopping
these self-destructive behaviors is the first step you should take. This can be very hard to do. You
might be addicted to the rush of natural painkillers called endorphins that are released when you
hurt yourself. However, these types of self-destructive actions are highly dangerous and certainly
deserve your best efforts to control them.
Basic Distress Tolerance Skills 13
Exercise: Distract Yourself from Self-Destructive Behaviors
Here are some safer actions that you can use to distract yourself from your self-destructive emotions
and thoughts. Check () the ones you’re willing to do, and then add any healthy, nonharming
activities that you can think of:
Instead of hurting yourself, hold an ice cube in one hand and squeeze it. The sensation
from the cold ice is numbing and very distracting.
Write on yourself with a red felt-tip marker instead of cutting. Draw exactly where you
would cut. Use red paint or nail polish to make it look like you’re bleeding. Then draw
stitches with a black marker. If you need to make it even more distracting, squeeze an
ice cube in the other hand at the same time.
Snap a rubber band on your wrist each time you feel like hurting yourself. This is
very painful, but it causes less permanent damage than cutting, burning, or mutilating
yourself.
Dig your fingernails into your arm without breaking the skin.
Draw faces of people you hate on balloons and then pop them.
Write letters to people you hate or to people who have hurt you. Tell them what they
did to you and tell them why you hate them. Then throw the letters away or save
them to read later.
Throw foam balls, rolled-up socks, or pillows against the wall as hard as you can.
Scream as loud as you can into a pillow or scream some place where you won’t draw
the attention of other people, like at a loud concert or in your car.
Stick pins in a voodoo doll instead of hurting yourself. You can make a voodoo doll
with some rolled-up socks or a foam ball and some markers. Or you can buy a doll
in a store for the specific purpose of sticking pins in it. Buy one that’s soft and easy
to stick.
Cry. Sometimes people do other things instead of crying because they’re afraid that
if they start to cry they’ll never stop. This never happens. In fact, the truth is that
crying can make you feel better because it releases stress hormones.
Other healthy, nonharming ideas:


14 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
Here’s an example of using alternative actions to distract your self-destructive emotions. Lucy
often cut herself when she felt upset or angry. She had dozens of scars on her wrists and forearms.
She wore long-sleeve shirts even in the hot summer because she was embarrassed when other
people saw what she had done to herself. But after getting some ideas from this workbook, she
made a distraction plan. So the next time she got angry with herself and felt like cutting, she
looked at her plan for alternative actions. She had written down the idea of drawing on herself
with a red marker. She drew a line exactly where she would have cut herself. She even used red
paint to make it look like she was bleeding. She carried the mark on her arm for the rest of the
day to remind herself how sad and overwhelmed she felt. But then, before she went to sleep, she
was able to erase the “scar” and “blood” from her arm, unlike the rest of the marks from her
permanent injuries.
DISTRACT YOURSELF WITH PLEASURABLE ACTIVITIES
Sometimes doing something that makes you feel good is the best way to distract yourself from
painful emotions. But remember, you don’t have to wait until you feel overwhelmed by painful
emotions in order to do one of these activities. It’s also helpful to engage in these types of activities
on a regular basis. In fact, you should try to do something pleasurable every day. Exercise is also
especially important because not only is it good for your overall physical health but it’s also been
shown to be an effective treatment for depression in some cases (Babyak et al., 2000). Plus, exercise
makes you feel good almost immediately by releasing natural painkillers in your body called
endorphins (the same painkillers that are released when you cut yourself).
Following is a list of over one hundred pleasurable activities you can use to distract yourself.
Basic Distress Tolerance Skills 15
Talk to a friend on the telephone.
Go out and visit a friend.
Invite a friend to come to your home.
Text message your friends.
Organize a party.
Exercise.
Lift weights.
Do yoga, tai chi, or Pilates, or take classes to
learn.
Stretch your muscles.
Go for a long walk in a park or someplace
else that’s peaceful.
Go outside and watch the clouds.
Go jog.
Ride your bike.
Go for a swim.
Go hiking.
Do something exciting, like surfing, rock
climbing, skiing, skydiving, motorcycle riding,
or kayaking, or go learn how to do one of
these things.
Go to your local playground and join a game
being played or watch a game.
Go play something you can do by yourself
if no one else is around, like basketball,
bowling, handball, miniature golf, billiards, or
hitting a tennis ball against the wall.
Get a massage; this can also help soothe your
emotions.
Get out of your house, even if you just sit
outside.
Go for a drive in your car or go for a ride on
public transportation.
Plan a trip to a place you’ve never been
before.
Sleep or take a nap.
Eat chocolate (it’s good for you!) or eat
something else you really like.
Eat your favorite ice cream.
Cook your favorite dish or meal.
Cook a recipe that you’ve never tried befor
16 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
Go to a spa.
Go to a library.
Go to a bookstore and read.
Go to your favorite café for coffee or tea.
Visit a museum or local art gallery.
Go to the mall or the park and watch other
people; try to imagine what they’re thinking.
Pray or meditate.
Go to your church, synagogue, temple, or
other place of worship.
Join a group at your place of worship.
Write a letter to God.
Call a family member you haven’t spoken to
in a long time.
Learn a new language.
Sing or learn how to sing.
Play a musical instrument or learn how to
play one.
Write a song.
Listen to some upbeat, happy music (start
collecting happy songs for times when you’re
feeling overwhelmed).
Turn on some loud music and dance in your
room.
Memorize lines from your favorite movie, play,
or song.
Make a movie or video with your camcorder.
Take photographs.
Join a public-speaking group and write a
speech.
Participate in a local theater group.
Sing in a local choir.
Join a club.
Plant a garden.
Work outside.
Knit, crochet, or sew—or learn how to.
Make a scrapbook with pictures.
Paint your nails.
Change your hair color.
Take a bubble bath or shower.
Work on your car, truck, motorcycle, or bicycle.
Sign up for a class that excites you at a local
college, adult school, or online.
Read your favorite book, magazine, paper, or
poem.
Read a trashy celebrity magazine.
Write a letter to a friend or family member.
Write things you like about yourself on a
picture of your body or draw them on a
photograph of yourself.
Write a poem, story, movie, or play about
your life or someone else’s life.
Write in your journal or diary about what
happened to you today.
Write a loving letter to yourself when you’re
feeling good and keep it with you to read
when you’re feeling upset.
Make a list of ten things you’re good at or
that you like about yourself when you’re
feeling good, and keep it with you to read
when you’re feeling upset.
Draw a picture.
Paint a picture with a brush or your fingers.
Masturbate.
Have sex with someone you care about.
Make a list of the people you admire and
want to be like—it can be anyone real or
fictional throughout history. Describe what
you admire about these people.
Write a story about the craziest, funniest, or
sexiest thing that has ever happened to you.
Make a list of ten things you would like to do
before you die.
Make a list of ten celebrities you would like to
be friends with and describe why.
Make a list of ten celebrities you would like to
have sex with and describe why.
Write a letter to someone who has made your
life better and tell them why. (You don’t have
to send the letter if you don’t want to.)
Create your own list of pleasurable activities.
Other ideas:


Basic Distress Tolerance Skills 17
Here’s an example of using pleasurable activities to distract yourself. Karen was feeling lonely
and had nothing to do. As she sat alone at home, she began to think about how lonely she’d been
her whole life and how she was hurt by her father when she was growing up. Very quickly, Karen
was overwhelmed with very painful emotions. In fact, the memories also triggered physical pain
in her shoulder. Karen began to cry and didn’t know what to do. Luckily, she remembered the
distraction plan she had created. Exercise had always been a powerful tool for Karen, so she went
for a long walk in the park while she listened to some of her favorite music. The activity didn’t
erase her memories or remove her pain completely, but the long walk did soothe her and prevent
her from being overwhelmed with sadness.
DISTRACT YOURSELF BY PAYING ATTENTION
TO SOMEONE ELSE
Another great way to distract yourself from pain is to put your attention on someone else. Here
are some examples. Check () the ones you’re willing to do, and then add any activities that you
can think of:
Do something for someone else. Call your friends and ask if they need help doing something,
such as a chore, grocery shopping, or housecleaning. Ask your parents, grandparents,
or siblings if you can help them with something. Tell them you’re feeling
bored and you’re looking for something to do. Call up someone you know and offer
to take them out to lunch. Go outside and give money to the first needy person you
see. If you can plan ahead for moments like these when you’re overwhelmed with
pain, call your local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or volunteer organization. Plan to
participate in activities that help other people. Join a local political activities group,
environmental group, or other organization, and get involved helping other people.
Take your attention off yourself. Go to a local store, shopping center, bookstore, or park.
Just sit and watch other people or walk around among them. Watch what they do.
Observe how they dress. Listen to their conversations. Count the number of buttons
they’re wearing on their shirts. Observe as many details about these other people as
you can. Count the number of people with blue eyes versus the number of people with
brown eyes. When your thinking returns to your own pain, refocus on the details of
the people you’re watching.
Think of someone you care about. Keep a picture of them in your wallet or in your
purse. This could be your husband, wife, parent, boyfriend, girlfriend, children, or
friend, or it could be someone else you admire, such as Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Jesus,
the Dalai Lama, Ganesha, and so on. It could even be a movie star, an athlete, or
someone you’ve never met. Then, when you’re feeling distressed, take out the picture
and imagine a healing, peaceful conversation you would have with that person if you
18 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
could talk to them at that moment when you’re feeling hurt. What would they say to
you that would help make you feel better? Imagine them saying those words to you.
Other ideas:


Here’s an example of distracting yourself by paying attention to someone else. Louis got upset
by a fight he had with his boyfriend, Roger. Very quickly, Louis became overwhelmed by sadness
as he started to remember all the other fights he and Roger had had in the past. Louis went to his
desk, where he kept a picture of his mother. He sat down and started to talk to his mother as if
she were there with him. He asked for strength and guidance to handle the situation with Roger.
Then he imagined what she would say to him, and he started to feel better. Later, when he was
able to think more clearly, he returned to what he needed to do that day.
DISTRACT YOUR THOUGHTS
The human brain is a wonderful thought-producing machine. It turns out millions of thoughts
every day. Most of the time, this makes our lives much easier. But unfortunately, we can’t fully
control what our brain thinks about. Here’s an example. Imagine a picture of your favorite cartoon
character, such as Bugs Bunny, Snoopy, Superman, or whomever. Close your eyes and see the
character in vivid detail in your mind’s eye. Remember exactly what it looks like. Think about
the character for about fifteen seconds. Got it? Now, for the next thirty seconds do your best not
to think about the character. Try to block the character from your thoughts. But be honest with
yourself and notice how often the character pops into your thoughts. It’s impossible not to think
about the character. In fact, the harder you try not to think about it, the more power you give to
the image and the more your brain keeps bringing it into your thoughts. It’s almost as if the harder
you try to forget something, the harder your brain tries to remember it. This is why forcing yourself
to forget about something that happened to you is impossible. It’s also why you can’t simply force
yourself to get rid of emotions that you don’t want.
So, instead of trying to force yourself to forget a memory or thought, try to distract your
thoughts with other memories or creative images. Here are some examples. Check () the ones
you’re willing to do, and then add any activities that you can think of:
Remember events from your past that were pleasant, fun, or exciting. Try to remember
as many details as possible about these happy memories. What did you do? Who were
you with? What happened?
Basic Distress Tolerance Skills 19
Imagine sexual thoughts that make you excited. Create sexual fantasies involving you
and someone you know or someone you would like to know. Try to think of as many
details as possible. What happens that’s so exciting?
Look outside at the natural world around you. Observe the flowers, trees, sky, and
landscape as closely as you can. Observe any animals that are around. Listen to the
sounds that they make. Or if you live in a city without much nature around you, either
do your best to observe what you can or close your eyes and imagine a scene you’ve
observed in the past.
Imagine yourself as a hero or heroine correcting some past or future event in your life.
How would you do it? What would people say to you?
Imagine yourself getting praise from someone whose opinion matters to you. What
did you do? What does this person say to you? Why does this person’s opinion matter
to you?
Imagine your wildest fantasy coming true. What would it be? Who else would be
involved? What would you do afterwards?
Keep a copy of your favorite prayer or favorite saying with you. Then, when you feel
distressed, pull it out and read it to yourself. Imagine the words calming and soothing
you. Use imagery (such as a white light coming down from heaven or the universe)
that soothes you as you read the words.
Other ideas:


Here’s an example of using distracting thoughts. Joel was in a bad relationship that often
reminded him of the way he was treated by his mother. She was always criticizing him and telling
him he was wrong. When these memories overwhelmed him, Joel never knew what to do. Sometimes
he would just scream at his friends or whoever else was around. But after creating a distraction
plan, Joel thought of other ideas. The next time he had memories of his mother berating him, he
went to his bedroom to lie down. Then he started to imagine himself as a child confronting his
mother about her abusive language. He told her all the things he wished he could have said to her
years ago. He told her she was wrong and that she should stop criticizing him. Joel controlled the
details of the fantasy in the way he wished it could have happened years ago. Afterwards, he slowly
felt better. He had escaped the cycle of letting his painful emotions overwhelm him.
20 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
DISTRACT YOURSELF BY LEAVING
Sometimes the best thing that you can do is leave. If you’re in a very painful situation with someone
and you recognize that your emotions are going to overwhelm you and possibly make the situation
worse than it is already, then often it’s best to just leave. Remember, if you’re already overwhelmed
by your emotions, it will be harder for you to think of a healthy resolution to your problem. Maybe
it’s best to put some distance between you and the situation in order to give yourself time to calm
your emotions and think of what to do next. Just walk away if that’s the best you can do. It will
be better than adding fuel to the emotional fire.
Here’s an example of leaving to distract yourself. Anna was in a large department store shopping
for a blouse. She wanted one of the clerks to help her find her size, but the store clerk was
busy with other customers. Anna waited as long as she could and kept trying to get the clerk’s
attention, but nothing worked. Anna recognized that she was getting angry very quickly. She was
ready to tear the blouse in half. She didn’t know what else to do. In the past, she would have
stayed in the store and gotten angrier, but this time she remembered to leave. She walked out of
the store, did some shopping elsewhere, and returned to get the blouse later, when the store was
less crowded and when she was feeling more in control of her behaviors.
DISTRACT YOURSELF WITH TASKS AND CHORES
Strangely, many people don’t schedule enough time to take care of themselves or their living environments.
As a result, tasks and chores go uncompleted. Here, then, is the perfect opportunity to
do something to take care of yourself and your environment. The next time you’re in a situation
in which your emotions become too painful, temporarily distract yourself by engaging in one of
the following activities. Check () the ones you’re willing to do, and then add any activities that
you can think of:
Wash the dishes.
Make phone calls to people you haven’t spoken to recently but not someone you’re
angry with.
Clean your room or house, or go help a friend with their cleaning or gardening
project.
Clean out your closet and donate your old clothes.
Redecorate a room or at least the walls.
Organize your books, CDs, computer desktop, and so forth.
Make a plan for getting a job if you don’t already have one, or make a plan for finding
a better job.
Basic Distress Tolerance Skills 21
Go get a haircut.
Go get a manicure or pedicure, or both.
Go get a massage.
Wash your or someone else’s car.
Mow the lawn.
Clean your garage.
Wash the laundry.
Do your homework.
Do work that you’ve brought home from your job.
Polish your shoes.
Polish your jewelry.
Clean the bathtub and then take a bath.
Water your plants or work in the garden.
Cook dinner for yourself and some friends.
Pay the bills.
Go to a support meeting, like Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, or
Overeaters Anonymous.
Other ideas:


Here’s an example of using tasks and chores to distract yourself. Mike called his girlfriend
Michelle to go to a movie. Michelle had already made plans with her friends to do something else.
Mike felt incredibly rejected and abandoned. He started yelling at Michelle, who hung up on him.
This made Mike feel worse. He didn’t know what to do. Quickly, he began to feel light-headed and
confused, and his emotions became very angry. But this time, instead of calling Michelle back and
arguing, he opened his wallet and pulled out the distraction plan he had made (which you’ll also
create at the end of this chapter). He had written down “get a haircut,” so he walked a half mile
to his barber. Getting out of his house helped soothe his anger, and when he returned home, he
had cooled down enough to call Michelle back to see if she was busy the next day.
22 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
DISTRACT YOURSELF BY COUNTING
Counting is a simple skill that can really keep your mind busy and help you focus on something
other than your pain. Here are some examples. Check () the ones you’re willing to do, and then
add any activities that you can think of:
Count your breaths. Sit in a comfortable chair, put one hand on your belly, and take
slow, long breaths. Imagine breathing into your stomach instead of your lungs. Feel
your belly expand like a balloon with each inhalation. Start counting your breaths.
When you inevitably start thinking about whatever it is that’s causing you pain, return
your focus to counting.
Count anything else. If you’re too distracted by your emotions, simply count the sounds
that you’re hearing. This will take your attention outside of yourself. Or try counting the
number of cars that are passing by, the number of sensations that you’re feeling, or anything
else you can put a number on, such as the branches of a tree you’re looking at.
Count or subtract by increments of seven. For example, start with one hundred and
subtract seven. Now take that answer and subtract seven more. Keep going. This
activity will really distract you from your emotions because it requires extra attention
and concentration.
Other counting ideas:


Here’s an example of using counting to distract yourself. Dawn became upset when her mother
told her to help set the table for dinner. “She’s always telling me what to do,” Dawn thought. She
could feel her anger getting worse, so she went to her room and remembered that the last time this
happened, counting her breaths had helped soothe her emotions. She sat down and did it again.
After ten minutes, she felt calmer, so she went back to the dining room.
CREATE YOUR DISTRACTION PLAN
Now identify those distraction skills that you’re willing to use the next time you’re in a situation
that’s causing you pain and discomfort. These chosen skills will make up your distraction plan.
Remember, these are the first steps you will use in your plan to distract, relax, and cope. Write your
chosen distraction techniques below. When you’re done, write them down again on a 3 x 5 inch
note card or a sticky note to carry around with you in your wallet or purse. Then the next time
you’re in a distressing situation, you can pull out the card to remind yourself of your distraction
plan.
Basic Distress Tolerance Skills 23
MY DISTRACTION PLAN
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
RELAX AND SOOTHE YOURSELF
Now that you’ve learned some healthy and effective ways to distract yourself when you become
overwhelmed by painful emotions, you’ll need to learn new ways to help soothe yourself (Johnson,
1985; Linehan, 1993b). Remember, these next skills will give you the second step in your plan to
distract, relax, and cope. The activities in this section will help you relax. Then, later in this book,
you’ll learn specific skills to cope with problematic situations. These will include emotion regulation
skills, mindfulness skills, and interpersonal effectiveness skills.
Learning to relax and soothe yourself is very important for many reasons. When you’re
relaxed, your body feels better. It also functions in a healthier way. In a state of relaxation, your
heart beats more slowly and your blood pressure is reduced. Your body is no longer in a state of
constant emergency, preparing to either confront a stressful situation or run away from it. As a
result, it’s easier for your brain to think of healthier ways to cope with your problems.
Included here are some simple relaxation and soothing activities that utilize your five senses
of smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch. These activities are meant to bring you a small amount
of peace in your life. So if one of these activities doesn’t help you feel relaxed, or makes you feel
worse, don’t do it. Try something else. And remember, each one of us is different. For example,
some people will become more relaxed by listening to music and others will find that taking a hot
bubble bath works for them. As you explore this list, think about what works best for you and be
willing to try something new if it sounds exciting.
24 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Smell
Smell is a very powerful sense that can often trigger memories and make you feel a certain
way. Therefore, it’s very important that you identify smells that make you feel good, not bad. Here
are some ideas. Check () the ones you’re willing to do, and then add any activities that you can
think of:
Burn scented candles or incense in your room or house. Find a scent that’s pleasing
to you.
Wear scented oils, perfume, or cologne that makes you feel happy, confident, or
sexy.
Cut out perfumed cards from magazines and carry them with you in your handbag
or wallet.
Go someplace where the scent is pleasing to you, like a bakery or restaurant.
Bake your own food that has a pleasing smell, like chocolate chip cookies.
Lie down in your local park and smell the grass and outdoor smells.
Buy fresh-cut flowers or seek out flowers in your neighborhood.
Hug someone whose smell makes you feel calm.
Other ideas:


Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Vision
Vision is very important to humans. In fact, a large portion of our brain is devoted solely to
our sense of sight. The things you look at can often have very powerful effects on you, for better
or for worse. That’s why it’s important to find images that have a very soothing effect on you. And
again, for each person, it comes down to individual taste and preference. Here are some ideas.
Check () the ones you’re willing to do, and then add any activities that you can think of:
Go through magazines and books to cut out pictures that you like. Make a collage of
them to hang on your wall or keep some of them with you in your handbag or wallet
to look at when you’re away from home.
Find a place that’s soothing for you to look at, like a park or a museum. Or find a
picture of a place that’s soothing for you to look at, like the Grand Canyon.
Basic Distress Tolerance Skills 25
Go to the bookstore and find a collection of photographs or paintings that you find
relaxing, such as the nature photographs of Ansel Adams.
Draw or paint your own picture that’s pleasing to you.
Carry a picture or photograph of someone you love, someone you find attractive, or
someone you admire.
Other ideas:


Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Hearing
Certain sounds can soothe us. Listening to gentle music, for example, may be relaxing. In
fact, this entire chapter was written while listening to classical music. However, each one of us
has our own tastes. You have to find what works best for you. Use these examples to identify the
sounds that help you relax. Check () the ones you’re willing to do, and then add any activities
that you can think of:
Listen to soothing music. This can be classical, opera, oldies, new age, Motown, jazz,
Celtic, African, or anything else that works for you. It might be music with singing or
without. Go to a music store that lets you listen to music before you buy it, and listen
to a wide variety of genres to determine what helps you relax. If you have a portable
radio or an MP3 player, carry it with you to listen to music when you’re away from
home.
Listen to books on tape or compact discs. Many public libraries will let you borrow
books on tape. Take some out to see if it helps you relax. You don’t even have to pay
attention to the story line. Sometimes just listening to the sound of someone talking
can be very relaxing. Again, keep some of these recordings with you in your car or
loaded in your portable stereo.
Turn on the television and just listen. Find a show that’s boring or sedate, not something
like Jerry Springer that’s just going to get you angry. Sit in a comfortable chair
or lie down, and then close your eyes and just listen. Make sure you turn the volume
down to a level that’s not too loud. Years ago there was a show on public television
featuring a painter named Bob Ross. His voice was so soothing and relaxing that
many people reported falling asleep while watching him. Find a show like this that
will help you relax.
Listen to a gentle talk show on the radio. Remember—a gentle talk show, not something
that’s going to make you upset or angry. Stay away from political talk shows
26 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
and the news. Find something neutral in discussion, like Car Talk on National Public
Radio or a gardening show. Again, sometimes just listening to someone else talk can
be relaxing. Carry a portable radio with you to listen to when you’re feeling upset or
angry.
Open your window and listen to the peaceful sounds outside. Or, if you live in a
place without relaxing sounds outside, go visit a place with relaxing sounds, such as
a park.
Listen to a recording of nature sounds, such as birds and other wildlife. You can often
buy these in a music store and then take them with you to listen to on your portable
compact disc player, cassette player, or MP3 device.
Listen to a white-noise machine. White noise is a sound that blocks out other distracting
sounds. You can buy a machine that makes white noise with circulating air, or
you can turn on a fan to block out distracting sounds. Other white-noise machines
have recorded sounds on them, such as the sounds of birds, waterfalls, and rain forests.
Many people find these machines very relaxing.
Listen to the sound of a personal water fountain. These small electronic fountains can
be bought in most department stores, and many people find the sound of the trickling
water in their homes to be very soothing.
Listen to a recording of a relaxation exercise. Exercises such as these will help you
imagine yourself relaxing in many different ways. Other recorded exercises can even
teach you self-hypnosis techniques to help you relax. Recordings like these can be
bought at some bookstores and online at self-help publishers, such as New Harbinger
Publications. Go to http://www.newharbinger.com and look under “Audio Programs.” Then
you can take the programs with you to listen to when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Listen to the sound of rushing or trickling water. Maybe your local park has a waterfall,
or the nearby mall has a fountain. Or maybe just sit in your bathroom with the
water running.
Other ideas:


Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Taste
Taste is also a very powerful sense. Our tongue has distinct regions of taste buds on it to
differentiate flavors and tastes of food. These sensations can also trigger memories and feelings,
so again, it’s important that you find the tastes that are pleasing to you. However, if eating is a
Basic Distress Tolerance Skills 27
problem for you, such as eating too much, bingeing, purging, or restricting what you eat, talk to a
professional counselor about getting help for yourself. If the process of eating can make you upset
or nervous, use your other senses to calm yourself. But if food soothes you, use some of these suggestions.
Check () the ones you’re willing to do, and then add any activities you can think of:
Enjoy your favorite meal, whatever it is. Eat it slowly so you can enjoy the way it
tastes.
Carry lollipops, gum, or other candy with you to eat when you’re feeling upset.
Eat a soothing food, like ice cream, chocolate, pudding, or something else that makes
you feel good.
Drink something soothing, such as tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Practice drinking it
slowly so you can enjoy the way it tastes.
Suck on an ice cube or an ice pop, especially if you’re feeling warm, and enjoy the
taste as it melts in your mouth.
Buy a piece of ripe and juicy fresh fruit and then eat it slowly.
Other ideas:


Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Touch
We often forget about our sense of touch, and yet we’re always touching something, such
as the clothes we’re wearing or the chair we’re sitting in. Our skin is our largest organ, and it’s
completely covered with nerves that carry feelings to our brain. Certain tactile sensations can be
pleasing, like petting a soft dog, while other sensations are shocking or painful in order to communicate
danger, like touching a hot stove. Again, each of us prefers different sensations. You have
to find the ones that are most pleasing for you. Here are some suggestions. Check () the ones
you’re willing to do, and then add any activities that you can think of:
Carry something soft or velvety in your pocket to touch when you need to, like a
piece of cloth.
Take a hot or cold shower and enjoy the feelings of the water falling on your skin.
Take a warm bubble bath or a bath with scented oils and enjoy the soothing sensations
on your skin.
28 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
Get a massage. Many people who have survived physical and sexual abuse do not
want to be touched by anyone. This is understandable. But not all types of massage
require you to take off your clothes. Some techniques, such as traditional Japanese
shiatsu massage, simply require you to wear loose-fitting clothes. A shoulder and neck
massage, received while seated in a massage chair, can also be done without removing
any clothes. If this is a concern for you, just ask the massage therapist what kind of
massage would be best to have while wearing your clothes.
Massage yourself. Sometimes just rubbing your own sore muscles is very pleasing.
Play with your pet. Owning a pet can have many health benefits. Pet owners often
have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and reduced risk for heart disease
(Anderson, Reid, & Jennings, 1992), and they experience other general health improvements
(Serpell, 1991). In addition, playing with your pet and stroking the animal’s
fur or skin can provide you with a soothing tactile experience. If you don’t have a
pet, consider getting one. Or if you can’t afford one, visit a friend who has a pet or
volunteer at your local animal shelter where you can play with the rescued animals.
Wear your most comfortable clothes, like your favorite worn-in T-shirt, baggy sweat
suit, or old jeans.
Other ideas:


CREATE A RELAXATION PLAN
Now that you’ve read the suggestions to help you relax and soothe yourself using your five senses,
construct a list of techniques you’re willing to use. For ideas, review the activities that you checked.
Be specific about what you’re going to do. Make a list of ideas to try at home and a list of ideas
you can take with you when you’re away from home.
RELAXATION AND SOOTHING SKILLS TO USE AT HOME
1.
2.
3.
4.
Basic Distress Tolerance Skills 29
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Keep this list in a convenient place that’s easy to remember. You might even want to copy this
list and put it in places where you see it all the time, such as on your refrigerator, above your desk,
on the mirror in your bathroom, or next to your bed. This way you’ll remind yourself to relax and
soothe yourself as often as possible. It will also make it easier to soothe yourself when your painful
emotions overwhelm you and prevent you from thinking clearly.
Now create a similar list to use when you’re away from home. Again, review the soothing
skills you checked in the last few pages to give you ideas. But make sure that it’s possible to use
these skills when you’re away from home. For example, don’t list “take a hot bath” because, most
likely, there won’t be a hot bath available to you when you’re not at home.
RELAXATION AND SOOTHING SKILLS TO USE AWAY FROM HOME
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Now copy these last ten ideas on an index card to remind you what to do when you’re away
from home. Keep this list with you, in your car, in your wallet, or in your handbag. Then make
30 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
sure you have whatever’s needed with you, such as candy, a portable radio, pictures, and so forth.
This way you can practice relaxing when you’re not at home, especially when your painful emotions
overwhelm you and prevent you from thinking clearly.
CONCLUSION
You’ve now learned some basic distraction and relaxation skills. You should begin using these skillsimmediately when you become overwhelmed with painful emotions. The next chapter will build
on these skills and teach you more advanced distraction and relaxation skills.
previously known as: pleasnpetrichor, perejil

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"
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Re: DBT workbook

Postby pamelaperejil » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:49 am

CHAPTER 2
Advanced Distress Tolerance Skills:
Improve the Moment
In the last chapter, you learned many important skills that you can use in a crisis. These skills
will distract you from painful situations and then help you soothe yourself and relax so that you
can deal with the situation in a more effective way. Remember, your plan for handling a crisis is
to distract, relax, and cope.
Now that you’ve been practicing the distress tolerance skills from the last chapter, you’ll be
ready for the advanced distress tolerance skills found in this chapter. These techniques will help
you feel more empowered when you encounter painful situations in the future, and they’ll help you
build a more relaxing and fulfilling life for yourself.
After trying each technique, mark the ones that are helpful so you can identify them later.
SAFE-PLACE VISUALIZATION
Safe-place visualization is a powerful stress-reduction technique. Using it, you can soothe yourself
by imagining a peaceful, safe place where you can relax. The truth is, your brain and body often
can’t tell the difference between what’s really happening to you and what you’re just imagining.
So if you can successfully create a peaceful, relaxing scene in your thoughts, your body will often
respond to those soothing ideas.
Make sure you conduct this exercise in a quiet room where you’ll be free from distractions.
Turn off your phone, television, and radio. Tell the people in your home, if there are any, that
you can’t be disturbed for the next twenty minutes. Allow yourself the time and the freedom
to relax. You deserve it. Read the following directions before you begin. If you feel comfortable
remembering them, close your eyes and begin the visualization exercise. Or, if you would prefer,
32 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
use an audio-recording device to record the directions for yourself. Read them aloud using a slow,
soothing voice. Then close your eyes and listen to the guided visualization you created.
Before you begin the exercise, think of a real or imaginary place that makes you feel safe
and relaxed. It can be a real place that you’ve visited in the past, such as the beach, a park, a
field, a church/temple, your room, and so on. Or it can be a place that you’ve completely made
up, such as a white cloud floating in the sky, a medieval castle, or the surface of the moon. It can
be anywhere. If you have trouble thinking of a place, think of a color that makes you feel relaxed,
such as pink or baby blue. Just do your best. In the exercise, you’ll be guided through exploring
this place in more detail. But before you begin, make sure you already have a place in mind, and
remember—thinking of it should make you feel safe and relaxed.
Complete the following sentences about your safe place before beginning the visualization:
 My safe place is
 My safe place makes me feel
Instructions
To begin, sit in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting comfortably,
either on the arms of the chair or in your lap. Close your eyes. Take a slow, long breath in
through your nose. Feel your belly expand like a balloon as you breathe in. Hold it for five seconds: 1,
2, 3, 4, 5. Then release it slowly through your mouth. Feel your belly collapse like a balloon losing its
air. Again, take a slow, long breath in through your nose and feel your stomach expand. Hold it for five
seconds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Then exhale slowly through your mouth. One more time: take a slow, long breath
in through your nose and feel your stomach expand. Hold it for five seconds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Then exhale
slowly through your mouth. Now begin to take slow, long breaths without holding them, and continue to
breathe smoothly for the rest of this exercise.
Now, with your eyes closed, imagine that you enter your safe place using all of your senses to ground
yourself in the scene.
First, look around using your imaginary sense of sight. What does this place look like? Is it daytime
or nighttime? Is it sunny or cloudy? Notice the details. Are you alone or are there other people or animals?
What are they doing? If you’re outside, look up and notice the sky. Look out at the horizon. If you’re
inside, notice what the walls and the furniture look like. Is the room light or dark? Choose something
soothing to look at. Then continue looking for a few seconds using your imaginary sense of sight.
Next, use your imaginary sense of hearing. What do you hear? Do you hear other people or animals?
Do you hear music? Do you hear the wind or the ocean? Choose something soothing to hear. Then listen
for a few seconds using your imaginary sense of hearing.
Then use your imaginary sense of smell. If you’re inside, what does it smell like? Does it smell fresh?
Do you have a fire burning that you can smell? Or, if you’re outside, can you smell the air, the grass,
the ocean, or the flowers? Choose to smell something soothing in your scene. Then take a few seconds to
use your imaginary sense of smell.
Advanced Distress Tolerance Skills: Improve the Moment 33
Next, notice if you can feel anything with your imaginary sense of touch. What are you sitting or
standing on in your scene? Can you feel the wind? Can you feel something you’re touching in the scene?
Choose to touch something soothing in your scene. Then take a few seconds to use your imaginary sense
of touch.
Last, use your imaginary sense of taste. Are you eating or drinking anything in this scene? Choose
something soothing to taste. Then take a few seconds to use your imaginary sense of taste.
Now take a few more seconds to explore your safe place using all of your imaginary senses. Recognize
how safe and relaxed you feel here. Remember that you can come back to this place in your imagination
whenever you need to feel safe and relaxed. You can also come back whenever you’re feeling sad, angry,
restless, or in pain. Look around one last time to remember what it looks like.
Now keep your eyes closed and return your focus to your breathing. Again, take some slow, long
breaths in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Then, when you feel ready, open your eyes
and return your focus to the room.
CUE-CONTROLLED RELAXATION
Cue-controlled relaxation is a quick and easy technique that will help you reduce your stress level
and muscle tension. A cue is a trigger or command that helps you relax. In this case, your cue
will be a word, like “relax” or “peace.” The goal of this technique is to train your body to release
muscle tension when you think about your cue word. Initially, you’ll need the help of the guided
instructions to help you release muscle tension in different sections of your body. But after you’ve
been practicing this technique for a few weeks, you’ll be able to relax your whole body at one time
simply by taking a few slow breaths and thinking about your cue word. With practice, this can
become a very quick and easy technique to help you relax. Before you begin, choose a cue word
that will help you relax.
 My cue word is
To begin this exercise, you’ll need to find a comfortable chair to sit in. Later, after you’ve
practiced this exercise for a few weeks, you’ll be able to do it wherever you are, even if you’re standing.
You’ll also be able to do it more quickly. But to begin, choose a comfortable place to sit in a
room where you won’t be disturbed. Make sure you’ll be free from distractions. Turn off your phone,
television, and radio. Tell the people in your home, if there are any, that you can’t be disturbed
for the next twenty minutes. Allow yourself the time and the freedom to relax. You deserve it.
Read the following directions before you begin. If you feel comfortable remembering them, close
your eyes and begin the relaxation exercise. Or, if you would prefer, use an audio-recording device
to record the directions for yourself. Then close your eyes and listen to the guided relaxation
technique that you created.
34 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
Instructions
To begin, sit in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting comfortably,
either on the arms of the chair or in your lap. Close your eyes. Take a slow, long breath in
through your nose. Feel your belly expand like a balloon as you breathe in. Hold it for five seconds: 1,
2, 3, 4, 5. Then release it slowly through your mouth. Feel your belly collapse like a balloon losing its
air. Again, take a slow, long breath in through your nose and feel your stomach expand. Hold it for five
seconds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Then exhale slowly through your mouth. One more time: take a slow, long breath
in through your nose and feel your stomach expand. Hold it for five seconds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Then exhale
slowly through your mouth. Now begin to take slow, long breaths without holding them, and continue to
breathe smoothly for the rest of this exercise.
Now, with your eyes still closed, imagine that a white beam of light shines down from the sky like
a bright laser and lands on the very top of your head. Notice how warm and soothing the light makes
you feel. This could be a light from God, the universe, or whatever power makes you feel comfortable.
As you continue to breathe smoothly, taking slow, long breaths, notice how the light makes you feel more
and more relaxed as it continues to shine on the top of your head. Now, slowly, the warm, white light
begins to spread over the top of your head like soothing water. And as it does, the light begins to loosen
any muscle tension that you’re feeling on the top of your head. Slowly the light begins to slide down your
body, and as it moves across your forehead, all the muscle tension there is released. Then the white light
continues down past your ears, the back of your head, your eyes, nose, mouth, and chin, and it continues
to release any tension you’re holding there. Notice how pleasantly warm your forehead feels. Now, slowly,
imagine that the light begins to move down your neck and over your shoulders, releasing any muscle
tension. Then the light slowly proceeds down both of your arms and the front and back of your torso.
Feel the muscles in your upper and lower back release. Notice the soothing sensation of the white light as
it moves across your chest and stomach. Feel the muscles in your arms release as the light moves down
to your forearm and then across both sides of your hands to your fingertips. Now notice the light moving
down through your pelvis and buttocks and feel the tension being released. Again, feel the light move like
soothing water across your upper and lower legs until it spreads across both the upper and lower surfaces
of your feet. Feel all of the tension leaving the muscles of your body as the white light makes your body
feel warm and relaxed.
Continue to notice how peaceful and calm you feel as you continue to take slow, long, smooth
breaths. Observe how your stomach continues to expand as you inhale, and feel it deflate as you exhale.
Now, as you continue breathing, silently think to yourself “breathe in” as you inhale, and then silently
think your cue word as you exhale. (If your cue word is something other than “relax,” use that word in
the following instructions.) Slowly inhale and think: “breathe in.” Slowly exhale and think: “relax.” As
you do, notice your entire body feeling relaxed at the same time. Feel all the muscle tension in your body
being released as you focus on your cue word. Again, inhale and think: “breathe in.” Exhale and think:
“relax.” Notice your entire body releasing any muscle tension. Again, inhale … “breathe in.” Exhale …
“relax.” Feel all the tension in your body releasing.
Continue breathing and thinking these words at your own pace for several minutes. With each
breath, notice how relaxed your entire body feels. When your mind begins to wander, return your focus
to the words “breathe in” and “relax.”
Advanced Distress Tolerance Skills: Improve the Moment 35
Practice the cue-controlled relaxation technique twice a day, and record how long it takes
you to feel relaxed. With daily practice, this technique should help you relax more quickly each
time. Again, remember that the ultimate goal of this technique is to train your entire body to relax
simply when you think of your cue word, such as “relax.” This will only come with regular practice.
Initially, you might also have to think of the white-light imagery and engage in slow, deep breathing
to help yourself relax. But with practice this technique can help you relax in many distressing
situations. You can also combine this exercise with the previous safe-place visualization. Engaging
in cue-controlled relaxation first will help you feel even more safe and calm in that visualization
process.
REDISCOVER YOUR VALUES
The word “values” can be defined as your ethics, principles, ideals, standards, or morals. These are
literally the ideas, concepts, and actions that fill your life with worth and importance. Remembering
what you value in life can be a very powerful way to help you tolerate a stressful situation. It can
also be particularly helpful when you find yourself upset over and over again in the same situation
or with the same person. Sometimes we forget why we’re doing something that’s hard, and this
makes it difficult for us to continue. Maybe you have a job that you don’t like and you wonder
why you keep going to work. Perhaps you’re going to school, and you don’t remember what your
goals are. Or maybe you’re in a relationship that isn’t fulfilling, and you wonder why you keep
maintaining that relationship. In cases like these, remembering what you value can help you tolerate
stressful situations and also help you create a more fulfilling life for yourself. Use the following
exercises to explore what you value in life.
Exercise: Valued Living Questionnaire
This first exercise will ask you to identify how you value ten different components of your life
using the Valued Living Questionnaire (Wilson, 2002; Wilson & Murrell, 2004). As you read
each component, ask yourself how important each of these areas is to your life—regardless of how
much time or effort you now put into fulfilling the needs of that area. For example, maybe you
highly value “self-care” regardless of the fact that you devote little time to it. Rate the importance
of each component on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being not important at all and 10 being extremely
important. Do your best to rate them honestly, according to your own true feelings, not to what
you think you should rate them. You’ll then use your responses to the Valued Living Questionnaire
in the following exercise, which will help you move toward engaging in what you value.
36 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook VALUED LIVING QUESTIONNAIRE (Wilson, 2002) Life Component Not Important Moderately Extremely at All Important Import ant Family (other than romantic relationships or parenting) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Romantic relationships (marriage, life partners, dating, and so on) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Parenting 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Friends and social life 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Work 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Education and training 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Recreation and fun 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Spirituality and religion 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Citizenship and community life 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Self-care (exercise, diet, relaxation, and so on) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Advanced Distress Tolerance Skills: Improve the Moment 37
Exercise: Committed Action
This next exercise will help you create a more fulfilling life for yourself by formulating intentions
and committed actions based on your values (Olerud & Wilson, 2002). Maybe you already dedicate
a lot of time to the components of your life that you value, or maybe you don’t. Either way, this
exercise will help you think about ways to make your life feel more fulfilling based on what you
think is important.
First, using the Valued Living Questionnaire, identify the components of your life that you
rated between 5 and 10, from moderately important to extremely important. Then fill in the names
of those areas on the Committed Action Worksheet that follows the questionnaire. (Make additional
photocopies of this worksheet if you need more space.)
Next, identify one intention for each of those valued components, which will help make your
life feel more fulfilling. For example, if you rated education highly, maybe your intention would be
“to go back to school.” Or if you rated romantic relationships highly, maybe your intention would
be “to spend more time with my spouse or partner.”
Then, finally, identify several actions you are willing to commit to doing that will move you
toward your intention. Also, note when you’re willing to begin that commitment. For example, if
your intention is to go back to school, the actions you list might include “getting a catalog of classes
next week” and “signing up for a class within the next three weeks.” If your intention is to spend
more time with your spouse, your committed actions might include “not working overtime for the
next month” and “spending less time with friends for the next two weeks.”
Again, the purpose of these exercises is to fill your life with activities that are important to
you. Creating a life that you value can often help you deal with other situations that are distressing
and less desirable. Having a fulfilling life can give you something to look forward to when you’re
doing something you don’t like, and it can make you feel stronger during times of distress.

COMMITTED ACTION WORKSHEET
(Adapted from Olerud & Wilson, 2002)
1. A component of my life that I value is
My intention for this component is
The committed actions that I’m willing to take include the following (be sure to note when
you’ll begin these actions):



2. A component of my life that I value is
My intention for this component is
The committed actions that I’m willing to take include the following (be sure to note when
you’ll begin these actions):



3. A component of my life that I value is
My intention for this component is
The committed actions that I’m willing to take include the following (be sure to note when
you’ll begin these actions):



Advanced Distress Tolerance Skills: Improve the Moment 39
IDENTIFY YOUR HIGHER POWER
… AND MAKE YOURSELF FEEL MORE POWERFUL
Whether you believe in one God, many gods, a divine universe, or the goodness that exists within
each human being, having faith in something bigger and more powerful than yourself can often
make you feel empowered, safe, and calm. This is what people mean when they talk about believing
in a “higher power” or seeing “the big picture” in life. Believing in something divine, holy, or
special can help you endure stressful situations as well as help you soothe yourself.
At some point in life, we all feel hopeless or powerless. We’ve all experienced unfortunate
situations during which we felt alone and needed strength. Sometimes unexpected circumstances
hurt us or the people we care about. These situations often include being the victim of a crime,
getting into an accident, having someone close to us die, or being diagnosed with a serious illness.
Having faith in something special during times like these can often help you feel connected to a
bigger purpose in life. And remember, your faith doesn’t have to involve God if that’s not what
you believe in. Some people only put their faith in the goodness of the people they love. Yet basic
beliefs like these are often powerful enough to help people find the strength and comfort to lead
happy, healthy lives.
While you’re exploring your spirituality, remember that your spiritual beliefs can change over
time. Sometimes a person is raised in a spiritual tradition that no longer makes sense or feels
helpful. Yet, despite these feelings, a person will sometimes continue to attend the services of that
tradition because he or she thinks “it’s the right thing to do.” The truth is, if your spiritual tradition
is no longer giving you peace and strength, it’s okay to reexamine that faith and to change
traditions if necessary.
Connect to Your Higher Power
Use the following questions to help you identify your beliefs and to identify some ways in
which you can strengthen and use your beliefs on a regular basis:
 What are some of your beliefs about a higher power or a big picture that give you
strength and comfort?



 Why are these beliefs important to you?



40 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
 How do these beliefs make you feel?



 How do these beliefs make you think about others?



 How do these beliefs make you think about life in general?



 How do you acknowledge your beliefs throughout your daily life? For example, do you
go to church, synagogue, or temple? Do you pray? Do you talk to other people about
your beliefs? Do you read books about your beliefs? Do you help other people?


 What else would you be willing to do in order to strengthen your beliefs?



 What can you do to remind yourself of your beliefs on a regular basis?



 What can you say or do to remind yourself of your beliefs the next time you’re
feeling distressed?
Advanced Distress Tolerance Skills: Improve the Moment 41



Exercise: Higher-Power Activities
Here are some additional activities to help you feel more connected to your higher power, the
universe, and the big picture. Check () the ones that you’re willing to do:
If you do believe in the teachings of a particular religion or faith, find related activities that make
you feel more empowered and calm. Go to your church, synagogue, or temple for services.
Talk to the man or woman who runs your services. Talk to other members of your faith
about how they’ve handled difficult experiences. Join discussion groups formed at your place
of worship. Read the books that are important to your faith. Find passages that give you
strength, and mark them or copy them to keep with you in your wallet or purse so you can
read them no matter where you are.
Remember that your higher power can also be something other than God. Your higher power
can be a person who makes you feel stronger and more confident to deal with the challenges
that you face. Think of someone you admire who can be your higher power. Describe
that person. What makes that person special? Then, the next time you’re in a difficult or
distressing situation, act as if you are that person, and notice how you handle the situation
differently.
Look up at the stars. The light you’re seeing is millions of years old, and it has traveled
from stars that are billions of miles away. In fact, each time you look up at the stars, you’re
looking through a time machine and seeing the universe as it looked billions of years ago.
Strangely, many of the stars you’re looking at have already died, but their light is just reaching
your eyes on the Earth. Look up at the stars and recognize that whatever created them
also created you, whether it was God or a cosmic accident. You are connected to the stars.
Imagine yourself connecting with the universe. Sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes,
and imagine a white beam of light shining down from the universe. Like a laser beam,
the white light shines on the top of your head and fills you with a feeling of peace. Now
imagine the white light spreading all over your body, relaxing every muscle. Now imagine
your legs stretching down through the floor like giant tree trunks, going all the way down
into the center of the Earth. Imagine these roots tapping into the energy that drives the
planet. Feel your body fill with confidence as your legs absorb the golden energy flowing
up from the Earth.
42 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
Think about our planet Earth. Water is the most important substance for sustaining life on
our planet. Yet if we were much closer to the sun, all the water on our planet would evaporate
because the temperature would be too hot, and if we were much farther away, all the
water would freeze because the temperature would be too cold. Somehow, we’ve been lucky
enough to be in just the right place for life to form. Even if you don’t believe in a religious
purpose, ask yourself what it means that you live on a planet with just the right climate and
elements for life to exist. How did this happen, and what does it mean about your life?
Go to the beach. Try to count the grains in a handful of sand. Now try to imagine how
many handfuls of sand there are in the world, on all the beaches and in all the deserts. Try
to imagine how many billions of years must have passed to create so many grains of sand.
And again, recognize that the chemical elements that make up the sand also exist in you.
Stand with your feet in the sand and imagine feeling connected to the planet.
Go to a park or to a field and observe the trees, the grass, and the animals. Again, recognize
that whatever created all of that also created you. Remember that all living things are made
of the same chemical elements. On a subatomic scale, there isn’t much difference between
you and many other life forms. Yet you are still different and special. What is it that makes
you unique from other life?
Think about the human body, especially your own. Each human being is more wonderful than
a piece of artwork and more complex than any computer ever invented. Everything about
you is largely determined by your DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), the instructions that are
found in every cell of your body. Yet amazingly, each set of instructions that creates every
part of your body is composed of just four chemical elements that are repeated in different
combinations. These different combinations are called genes, and these are the instructions
you inherit from your parents that determine everything from your eye color to the structure
of your heart. Incredibly, it only takes an estimated thirty to forty thousand genes to
design a human being. Imagine trying to write so few instructions in order to create a body
that thinks, breathes, eats, moves, and does everything else you do. Plus, remember that
this same number of instructions is also responsible for creating approximately 100 billion
neurons in your brain, 60,000 miles (!) of blood vessels throughout your body, 600 skeletal
muscles, 206 bones, 32 teeth, and 11 pints of blood.
TAKE A TIME-OUT
Time-outs aren’t just for kids. We all need to relax in order to refresh our bodies, minds, and spirits.
Yet many people don’t take time out for themselves because they feel like they’d be disappointing
someone else, like their boss, spouse, family, or friends. Many people struggle with the constant
need to please others, and as a result, they neglect to take care of themselves. But people who don’t
take care of themselves lead very unbalanced lives. Many people ignore their own needs because
Advanced Distress Tolerance Skills: Improve the Moment 43
they feel guilty or selfish about doing anything for themselves. But how long can you continue to
take care of someone else without taking care of yourself? Imagine a woman who stands on a street
corner on a hot, summer day holding a jug of cold water. She pours drinks for every pedestrian
who walks by and, of course, everyone is grateful. But what happens when she’s thirsty and goes to
get a drink? After a long day of helping everyone else and neglecting herself, the jug is now empty.
How often do you feel like this woman? How often do you run out of time for yourself because
you’ve spent all of it taking care of other people? Helping others is a good thing to do as long as
it doesn’t come at the expense of sacrificing your own health. You need to take care of yourself,
and that doesn’t mean you’re selfish.
Exercise: Time-Out
Here are some simple ideas you can use to take time out for yourself. Check () the ones you’re
willing to do.
Treat yourself as kindly as you treat other people. Do one nice thing for yourself that you’ve
been putting off.
Take time to devote to yourself, even if it’s just a few hours during the week, by doing things
like taking a walk or preparing your favorite meal.
Or if you’re feeling really brave, take a half day off from work. Go someplace beautiful, like
a park, the ocean, a lake, the mountains, a museum, or even someplace like a shopping
center.
Take time to do things for your own life, like shopping, errands, doctor’s appointments,
and so on.
Other ideas:
previously known as: pleasnpetrichor, perejil

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"
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Re: DBT workbook

Postby jaus tail » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:40 am

People struggling with overwhelming emotions often deal with their pain in very unhealthy,
very unsuccessful ways because they don’t know what else to do. This is understandable. When a
person is in emotional pain, it’s hard to be rational and to think of a good solution. Nevertheless,
many of the coping strategies used by people with overwhelming emotions only serve to make their
problems worse.
Here’s a list of some common coping strategies used by people dealing with this problem.
Check () the ones that you use to cope with your stressful situations:
You spend a great deal of time thinking about past pains, mistakes, and problems.



True. I indulge in thinking about the past and what ifs, wishing i knew better. that if only this variable had changed i wouldn't have made that mistake.

6 The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
You make yourself feel numb with alcohol or drugs.
You take your feelings out on other people by getting excessively angry at them or
trying to control them.

yes. i blame others. at times wishing they had advised me right or wishing some particular act had happened that would've stopped me from making that decision.

You engage in dangerous behaviors, such as cutting, hitting, picking at, or burning
yourself or pulling out your own hair.


i used to cut and slap myself. not now. later i would hold a cube of ice in my palm. that helped.

You engage in unsafe sexual activities, such as having sex with strangers or having
frequent unprotected sex.
You avoid dealing with the causes of your problems, such as an abusive or
dysfunctional relationship.

if a relation is dysfunctional then i think its difficult to talk with the person. i mean we can talk with someone with whom we get along but not with someone with whom the relation is basically dysfunctional.

You use food to punish or control yourself by eating too much, not eating at all, or
by throwing up what you do eat.


often i starve just for the sake of it.

You attempt suicide or engage in high-risk activities, like reckless driving or taking
dangerous amounts of alcohol and drugs.
You avoid pleasant activities, such as social events and exercise, maybe because you
don’t think that you deserve to feel better.
You surrender to your pain and resign yourself to living a miserable and unfulfilling
life.


yeah. i end up thinking whats the point in all this. n often when i go to sleep i pray to never wake up.
exhausted
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Re: DBT workbook

Postby pamelaperejil » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:13 pm

To be clear: this is a DBT workbook that I downloaded through another site. I would have uploaded the file here, but it wouldn't let me. So I'm copying and pasting chapters at a time. I thought people might want to do the problems together. I'll be posting some of my answers shortly. I thought it would be a cool option for those who can't afford an actual DBT class.
previously known as: pleasnpetrichor, perejil

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"
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Re: DBT workbook

Postby pamelaperejil » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:31 pm

BAD COPING MECHANISMS

You spend a great deal of time thinking about past pains, mistakes, and problems.
COST: miss good things

You get anxious worrying about future pains, mistakes, and problems.
COST: miss good things

You isolate yourself from other people to avoid distressing situations.
COST: isolation results in more depression

You make yourself numb with alcohol and/or drugs.
COST: addiction, loss of money, work problems, legal problems, health consequences

You avoid dealing with the causes of your problems such as abusive or dysfunctional relationships.
COST: burn out, depression, needs go unmet

You attempt suicide or engage in high-risk activities like reckless driving or taking dangerous amounts of alcohol or drugs.
COST: medical complications

You surrender to your pain and resign yourself to living a miserable and unfulfilling life.
COST: regret, derpression

You take your painful feelings out on others.
COST: loss of relationships, people avoid you, work consequences

Distracting myself with the internet.
COST: loss of relationships, shame, regret, depression

-- Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:35 am --

RADICAL ACCEPTANCE:

Check the coping skills you would be willing to use:

This is the way it has to be.

All the events have led up to now.

This moment is the result of over a million other decisions.

Practice using these statements to exercise radical acceptance.
previously known as: pleasnpetrichor, perejil

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"
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Re: DBT workbook

Postby pamelaperejil » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:02 pm

DISTRACTION

"One of the most important purposes of dialectical behavior therapy is to help you stop engaging in self destructive behaviors... No one can deny the amount of pain you are in when you engage in one of these behaviors. Some people with overwhelming emotions say that self-injury temporarily relieves them of some of the pain they're feeling. This might be true, but it's also true that these actions can cause serious permanent damage and even death if taken to an extreme."

Check the safer actions that you are willing to do:

Write letters to people you hate or people who hurt you. Tell them what they did to you and tell them why you hate them. Then throw the letters away or save them to read later.

Cry.

Internet.

Distract yourself with pleasurable activities:

Internet
Walting
Window shopping
Walking
Help someone
Call a friend
Read

Distract yourself by paying attention to someone else:

Internet

Christmas Presents

Volunteer

Distract your thoughts:

Remember events from your past that were pleasant, fun, or exciting

Observe the world around you.

Imagine yourself getting praise from someone whose opinion matters to you.

Imagine your wildest fantasy coming true.

Copy your favorite quotes.

Plan Christmas presents.

Distract yourself by leaving.

DIstract yourself with tasks and chores.

Wash the dishes.

Call a friend.

Clean house/car

make a to-do list

wash laundry

take a bath

pay the bills

meditation

Distract yourself by counting/breathing
previously known as: pleasnpetrichor, perejil

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"
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Re: DBT workbook

Postby jaus tail » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:23 am

BAD COPING MECHANISMS

You spend a great deal of time thinking about past pains, mistakes, and problems.
COST: miss good things

More cost: waste mental energy. make more mistakes that end up with more regrets n its a cycle.

You get anxious worrying about future pains, mistakes, and problems.
COST: miss good things


yes.

You isolate yourself from other people to avoid distressing situations.
COST: isolation results in more depression


i think this depends on who the person is who we isolating with. not everyone is a good friend nor everyone gives the right advice.

You make yourself numb with alcohol and/or drugs.
COST: addiction, loss of money, work problems, legal problems, health consequences


yes n lots of regret later.

You avoid dealing with the causes of your problems such as abusive or dysfunctional relationships.
COST: burn out, depression, needs go unmet


lots of burn out. anger gets released on other people.

You attempt suicide or engage in high-risk activities like reckless driving or taking dangerous amounts of alcohol or drugs.
COST: medical complications


can cause permanent damage/scars. can get into legal troubles.

You surrender to your pain and resign yourself to living a miserable and unfulfilling life.
COST: regret, derpression


yes. lots of regret.

You take your painful feelings out on others.
COST: loss of relationships, people avoid you, work consequences


regret. self loathing once you calm down.

Distracting myself with the internet.
COST: loss of relationships, shame, regret, depression


waste of time.

RADICAL ACCEPTANCE:

Check the coping skills you would be willing to use:

This is the way it has to be.

All the events have led up to now.

This moment is the result of over a million other decisions.

true. if we want to look at our past actions then look at our present condition, if we want to look at our future condition then look at our present actions.
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Re: DBT workbook

Postby Stacer17 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:21 pm

Thank you. Would you be able to send me the link/email me the entire thing? Or is that the whole book in the two posts and I'll copy and paste it? Thank you!
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