Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) has become a prominent and effective approach in mental health care. It provides individuals with the necessary tools for coping with difficult situations. One of the major aspects of DBT is distress tolerance skills, which are an array of techniques that help people manage and endure strong or hard-to-manage emotions. The experts at our rehab in Massachusetts examine the core ideas of DBT distress tolerance skills and how individuals can use them to develop emotional resilience and the confidence to face life’s obstacles head-on with a calm, collected attitude. Gaining knowledge of and applying these skills—which range from crisis survival tactics to mindful approaches—can be life-changing and provide a route to increased emotional stability and enhanced general well-being.
Distress Tolerance & DBT
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), a therapeutic approach created by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan, is frequently linked to the concept of distress tolerance. Similar to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), DBT is especially helpful for people with disorders like borderline personality disorder (BPD) who struggle with emotion regulation, self-destructive behaviors, and interpersonal relationship issues.
In DBT, the term “distress tolerance” refers to the capacity to withstand and get through unpleasant or challenging circumstances without escalating them by rash or destructive behavior. It’s about learning to tolerate uncomfortable feelings and circumstances without turning to unhealthy coping techniques.
Is DBT Distress Tolerance the Same as Emotional Regulation?
Distress tolerance and emotional regulation are two interrelated DBT components, but they have different functions in assisting people in controlling their emotions and enhancing their general well-being. In DBT, the concept of “distress tolerance” refers to the ability to withstand and endure stressful circumstances without reverting to impulsive or harmful actions. It uses strategies like self-soothing, mindfulness, and distraction to get through difficult times without making emotional upheaval worse.
However, the goal of DBT’s emotional regulation is to assist people in recognizing, comprehending, and controlling their emotional reactions. This entails developing the ability to control strong emotions, lessen emotional vulnerability, and enhance pleasurable emotional experiences.
Distress tolerance specifically addresses the need to endure and navigate distress at the moment, whereas emotional regulation offers tools for comprehending and influencing the overall emotional landscape. Both elements are important for effective emotion management. These elements work together to create a comprehensive DBT approach that gives people the tools they need to strengthen their emotional health and resilience.
DBT Distress Tolerance Skills List
Distress tolerance skills in DBT are designed to help individuals cope with and tolerate distressing situations without resorting to harmful behaviors.
Here is a list of some common DBT distress tolerance skills:
- A – Activities: Engage in activities to distract yourself from distress.
- C – Contributing: Help others or do something kind for someone else.
- C – Comparisons: Compare your situation to others who are worse off.
- E – Emotional Opposites: Act opposite to the current emotion you’re experiencing.
- P – Pushing Away: Mentally put the situation on hold and come back to it later.
- T – Thoughts: Focus your mind on something else.
- S – Self-Soothing: Participate in undertakings that cause physical sensations.
- C – Contributing: Do things for others.
- R – Relaxing: Engage in activities that are calming.
- E – Events that are Pleasureable: Do things you enjoy.
- A – Accomplishments: Achieve small goals.
- T – Treat Yourself: Do something special for yourself.
- E – Exercise: Regularly exercise to help your mind, body, and spirit.
- IMPROVE the Moment:
- I – Imagery: Imagine a relaxing scene.
- M – Meaning: Find purpose or meaning in the pain.
- P – Prayer: Connect with a higher power or spirituality.
- R – Relaxation: Engage in relaxing activities.
- O – One Thing in the Moment: Focus on the current moment.
- V – Vacation: Take a mental vacation.
- E – Encouragement: Talk to yourself encouragingly.
- Pros and Cons:
- Weigh the pros and cons of tolerating distress versus acting impulsively.
- Radical Acceptance:
- Fully accepting the reality of the current situation without judgment.
- Turning the Mind:
- Willingness to accept and tolerate the current situation.
- Observing your breath: Focus on your breath to stay present.
- Half-smiling and willing hands: Use facial expressions and body language to change emotions.
- Awareness of current thoughts and sensations: Stay in tune with your thoughts and physical sensations.
In DBT therapy sessions, these techniques are frequently taught and practiced. People are encouraged to apply these techniques in their everyday lives to improve distress tolerance and emotional regulation. It’s crucial to remember that each person will respond differently to these skills, and mastery requires constant practice.
DBT for Addiction at Clearbrook
Reclaiming a life free from addiction and embracing mental well-being is within reach. Clearbrook Treatment Centers Massachusetts, with its compassionate team and specialized dialectical behavior therapy program, stands ready to guide you toward a transformative recovery. DBT equips you with invaluable skills for emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness, laying the foundation for a resilient and fulfilling life. Your path to recovery begins now – take that courageous step.