Week five of DBT and I think I’ve finally settled in at the new building. This week has been a distressing one for me but the TIPP skill from last week was really useful for me in my crisis situation so I was very glad and grateful I attended last week’s session to reinforce it. Once again I’m going with the view that my week hasn’t been great but it’s not horrendous either. I’m still here and working on getting better and for now, that’s what matters.
*Please remember not all groups are run the same way and your experiences may be different to mine. There is no right or wrong as everyone is different, this is just meant as a little insight into the topic for those who are interested.
This week’s topic was continuing the distress tolerance skills again moving on to look at self-soothing, distracting with wise mind ACCEPTS and improving the moment.
This skill focusses on the 5 senses and how you can use them to soothe yourself in difficult situations or even just after a bad day.
Vision – Look at photographs or beautiful scenery around you (if there is some)
Hearing – listen to music or the sounds of nature
Smell – Make a cup of coffee and enjoy the smell or use an aromatherapy candle or wax burner
Taste – Drink the coffee made or eat some of your favourite foods (in moderation)
Touch – Take a long hot bath or shower or put clean sheets on the bed.
Distracting with ACCEPTS
This does what it says on the tin. Different ways to distract yourself from distressing situations that can’t be dealt with or resolved immediately.
A – Activities: do something you enjoy to take your mind off of distressing situations
C – Contributing: volunteer, send a ‘just because’ message to a friend to cheer them up
C – Comparisons: Compare how you’re feeling now to a time you felt better
E – Emotions: Read a book or watch a film to evoke different emotions to the ones you’re feeling
P – Pushing away: Leave the situation mentally for the moment until you are able to confront it
T – Thoughts: Write out racing thoughts to get them out of your head
S – Sensations: Listen to very loud music or hold ice in your hand or mouth
IMPROVE the moment
Once again it does what it says on the tin. Ways to improve the current moment in order to cope with distressing situations. A lot of these overlap with both self-soothing and ACCEPTS.
I – Imagery: Imagine a time you were happy – I always go to sunbathing on the beach
M – Meaning: Focus on whatever positive aspects of a painful situation you can find
P – Prayer: If you’re religious (I’m not) this could be comforting
R – Relaxing actions: Do something that helps relax you like having a bath
O – One thing in the moment: Do things one-mindfully
V – Vacation: This is where the Americanisms come in – Take an hour break or have a late wake up on a day off worj
E – Encouragement: Rethink the situation and give yourself some encouragement – If it’s not OK it’s not the end.
We discussed various ideas for practicing these skills and given handouts, as usual, to take away and complete as homework detailing when we used the skills and how much it helped to calm us.