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Thread: Opposite Action

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    Opposite Action

    Opposite Action

    It is important to identify emotions. Sometimes the emotion is not in proportion to the event. It can be way too strong or it is getting in the way of what you are trying to do.

    Therapy for depression has better results if there is something to trigger a positive response. An activator. Therapy for anxiety is more effective if there is positive exposure to the feared situation. Anger is best treated with identification of the early signs and leaving the situation until later.

    Learning to do the opposite is not to be used to replace appropriate feelings to an event or situation but used rather to alleviate exaggerated feelings that are inappropriate during stressful periods.

    Here's how you would act the opposite:


    FEAR

    • Do what you are afraid of doing....OVER AND OVER AND OVER.
    • Approach events, places, tasks, activities, people you are afraid of.
    • Do things to give yourself a sense of CONTROL and MASTERY.
    • When overwhelmed, make a list of small steps or tasks you can do. DO the first thing on the list.

    GUILT OR SHAME
    When guilt or shame is JUSTIFIED (emotion FITS your wise mind values):

    • Repair the transgression.
    • Say your sorry, apologize.
    • Make things better, do something nice for person you offended (or someone else if that is not possible).
    • Commit to avoiding that mistake in the future.
    • Accept the consciences gracefully. Then let it go.

    When guilt or shame is UNJUSTIFIED (emotion DOES NOT fit your wise mind values):

    • Do what makes you feel guilty or ashamed....OVER AND OVER AND OVER.
    • Approach, don't avoid.

    SADNESS OR DEPRESSION

    • Get active, approach, don't avoid.
    • Do things that make you feel competent and self-confident.

    ANGER

    • Gently avoid the person you are angry with rather than attacking them (Avoid thinking about him or her rather than ruminating).
    • Do something nice rather than mean or attacking.
    • Imagine sympathy and empathy for other person rather than blame.

    Source: Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder

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    Re: Behavioral Activation: How To Be More Active in Your Life!

    Similar to the notion of "opposite action" is "incompatible behavior," e.g:

    Modifying Emotionally Driven Behaviors


    Note: PDA = panic disorder with agoraphobia; OCD = obsessive-compulsive disorder; GAD = generalized anxiety disorder; PTSD = posttraumatic stress disorder

    Source: Clinical handbook of psychological ... - Google Books

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    Re: Opposite Action

    Regarding DBT distress tolerance skills for exposure therapy ("opposite action"):

    Distress tolerance skills may be particularly useful to incorporate into treatment for anxiety if a client has difficulty (1) managing or tolerating exposure, or (2) accepting his or her symptoms or the work needed to engage in treatment. The application of DBT distress tolerance skills to treatments for anxiety disorders likely necessitates more focus on the reality acceptance portion of the module. Though crisis survival skills may be very useful at times, some of these skills emphasize avoidance of painful emotions, including anxiety, and as a result might be problematic. However, the reality acceptance skills seem clearly useful as an adjunct to standard treatment for anxiety disorders...

    Treatment Resistant Anxiety ... - Google Books

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    Re: Opposite Action

    Reduce Anxiety by Acting Opposite to How You
    PsychCentral blog: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Understood
    by Christy Matta, MA
    April 2010; Retrieved 12/23/11

    Do you worry about others judging your work as inadequate and put off completing projects? Or do you avoid new social situations? Stay away from public speaking, heights or intimate relationships?

    Fear and anxiety can cause significant life problems and leave us cut off from some of the most rewarding life experiences.

    As I discussed in my recent blog titled “Dialectical Behavior Therapy Emotion Regulation Skills: What do Emotions do for You?” emotions serve a purpose. They both communicate to others and motivate action. Each emotion has a specific action that goes with it. Fear and anxiety prompt us to run or avoid the feared or anxiety-producing situation.

    Unfortunately, we sometimes experience an emotion like fear or anxiety, when there is not, in fact, any real need to run or avoid. But emotions are powerful things and often, even when the emotion is not justified, we avoid the situation. When we avoid, we don’t learn that the situation is not dangerous, so we continue to feel afraid or anxious. The only way to change how we feel is to learn that the situation is not dangerous by doing the opposite of what we feel like doing. In the case of anxiety, this means we must approach the situation we’re afraid of.

    Take the circumstance I mentioned above involving avoiding new social situations out of anxiety. Most people who feel anxious in new social situations are worried that they will be judged negatively. The reality is that most of the other people in the situation will be focused on themselves. Those who do notice an anxious person, are more likely to be kind to the person than judgmental. In this case, the fear is not justified.

    Sometimes in order to change how we feel we have to act opposite to how our emotions are telling us to act. With anxiety, instead of running from the feared circumstance, we need to approach and engage in it.

    Acting opposite to how you’re feeling only works when:

    • The fear is not justified. Fear is justified when a situation is a threat to your life, health, or well being.
    • You do opposite action all the way. Not just by acting opposite to how you’re feeling, but also by thinking opposite to how you’re feeling.

    PROCESS OF OPPOSITE ACTION

    1. Figure out your emotion
    2. Figure out what action goes with that emotion.
    3. Ask yourself ‘do I want to reduce this emotion?’
    4. Figure out what the opposite action is.
    5. Do the opposite action all the way.

    Try it out and see if you begin to experience less fear and anxiety. Make sure your fear isn’t justified and then approach the situation with both your actions and your thoughts.

    Reference:
    Linehan M. M. (1993). Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. New York: The Guilford Press.

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    Re: Opposite Action

    Coping with Suicidal Thoughts

    Do the opposite of how you feel: When you have thoughts of suicide, it can be helpful to do the opposite of how you feel. For example, when people feel depressed they usually want to be alone. Doing the opposite, for example getting in touch with others, can help with feelings of depression.

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