DBT Skills for Eating Disorders

DBT Skills for Eating Disorders

DBT Skills for Eating Disorders: Distress Tolerance If you struggle with eating disorders, then you can likely relate to the concept of “distress.” But have you heard of “distress tolerance” – and wondered what this actually means? Is it simply a way to tolerate stressful situations or events? Maybe it describes tools for coping with tough relationships? The answer includes all of the above. At some point in life, everyone goes through painful circumstances – including physical pain such as illness or injury, or emotional pain such as anxiety or depression. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) focuses heavily on teaching people to be able to cope with painful stressors in life in appropriate and healthy ways. There are several unhealthy ways to cope with stress which include various addictions such as eating disorders, drugs and/or alcohol, gambling, shopping, sex/love, or self -harm. DBT teaches that there are many other ways to deal with pain in a way that will promote healing and growth. There is a very basic formula for handling stress and pain: DISTRACT, RELAX, COPE. When you feel stress coming on or find yourself in a tough situation, you can follow this simple formula and move through the hardship quicker than if you ignore it or try to cope in an unhealthy manner, as listed above. DISTRACT: The first step is to find ways in which to distract yourself so that you are not engulfed in difficult feelings. There are many things you can do! Find a pleasurable activity, such as: watching a movie, taking a walk, reading, calling a friend, going for a drive, exercising, writing in a journal, gardening, listening to music, dancing,...
DBT Group Denver – Mindfulness Tip

DBT Group Denver – Mindfulness Tip

DBT Group Denver – Mindfulness Tip Do you ever feel like you are going on auto pilot? Maybe you are “going through the motions” in your daily life. Perhaps you are expected to multi-task but you struggle completing things. Give yourself permission to SLOW DOWN! This is the first step in being mindful! Yes, it’s as easy as that…. Another way to start being mindful is to pay attention to your breath. You may have heard that before – and yes, it’s as simple as that! Take a few moments right now, and JUST BREATHE. To be mindful, simply NOTICE your breath. Don’t try to force or change your breath, just notice it. Notice your inhale, and your exhale. Notice the pace of your breath. Notice the depth of your breath. Stop reading for a moment right now, and JUST BREATHE. Notice the way your body feels as you pay attention to your breath. Hopefully you will feel more relaxed, that way you are better able to pay attention to your surroundings, be present and MINDFUL! Another helpful way to practice mindful breathing is through “square breathing”. Count to 4 as you inhale, then hold your breath for 4 counts, finally exhale for 4 counts. Repeat. It’s called “square breathing” because you can imagine drawing the four edges of a square in your mind as you count to 4. Or, some people like to trace the shape of a square on their leg as they count. Repeat again as many times as you would like. Breathing is just one way to practice mindfulness. My clients report that it is the EASIEST way to be...
Binge Eating Disorder Blog – Recovery Tip #1

Binge Eating Disorder Blog – Recovery Tip #1

RECOVERY TIP:  If you have the desire to binge eat, try to delay your impulse for a few minutes.  Sometimes that delay can prevent a binge altogether. The urge to binge eat can be overwhelming.  You might be totally preoccupied with thoughts about food, unable to focus on anything else.  In those moments, it might seem that a binge episode is your only option.  You figure that you just need to “get it over with.”  Rather than acting on your impulse to eat, distract yourself for a few minutes.  Deliberately delay your binge for at least 5 minutes.  The intensity of food cravings can diminish significantly in that span of time.  If you do still have a desire to binge after waiting for a few minutes, you’ll probably consume less food than you usually would.  With brief impulse control, you may find that your desire to binge eat is completely gone! This strategy might seem “easier said than done.” When the impulse to binge eat hits, it can be difficult to remember to try this delay strategy. It can be difficult to think of anything except food! The key to recovery is in the pause – you might forget to pause the next time an urge to binge hits you, but you might remember if  you keep this Binge Eating Disorder Recovery Tip written down as a reminder. Try writing it on a post-it note, stating simply, “5 MINUTES” or “PAUSE.” Or, make a list of recovery tips to carry with you, either on a notecard, slip of paper, or on a note in your phone. It might also...