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DBT: Affirmations

DBT Skills: Self- Affirming Statements

DBT, or Dialectical Behavior Therapy, is a type of talk therapy that was originally developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan to help individuals who were struggling with regulating overwhelming emotions. Her goal in designing DBT was to help people “get out of hell” and “find a life worth living”. Her theory was developed after finding tools that were effective in her own struggles with Borderline Personality Disorder. She realized that the current approaches to talk therapy were not enough, so she combined what she believed were the most useful skills from other talk therapies along with what she learned about meditation and mindfulness and created DBT (McKay et al., 2019). 

DBT skills can help guide a person towards the confidence and joy that they long for in their relationships. The theory includes four sets of skills- Distress Tolerance, Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. Today we will be focusing on Distress Tolerance.

Distress Tolerance

Distress tolerance skills are skills that can be used when you face overwhelming emotions in the moment. Overwhelming emotions can make a person feel out of control and often react in harmful ways to themselves or others due to the internal pain they are experiencing. Distress Tolerance skills can help a person to see alternative strategies for managing these emotions (McKay et al., 2019). 

One Distress Tolerance Skill that can help individuals build a healthier sense of self before the distressing situation occurs are Self-Affirming Statements. These statements help remind us that we have what it takes to move through a distressing situation. Below are some examples of Self-Affirming Statements: 

  • “I accept who I am.” 
  • “I have nothing to prove.” 
  • “I have goodness inside of me.”
  • “I’m doing the best I can.” 
  • “I care about myself and those around me.”
  • “I am worthy”
  • “I am loved” 
  • “There’s a purpose for my life, even when I can’t always see it.” 

Many people find it helpful to have statements that are specific to their challenges and personal experiences, and then putting their statements in places where they can see them throughout the day. Consider the following ideas: 

  • Make a sticky note and place in strategic places
  • Setting alarms on your phone at specific times of the day
  • Create a collage or phone wallpaper with your statement

Other clients find that “breathing in” their self-affirming statement (or a truth about who you are), and “breathing out” a statement that is no longer serving them can be helpful. For example, try breathing in as you tell yourself “I am worthy” and breathing out “I’m a failure.” Through giving our mind “reminders” about who we are, we can lean into this identity when we are faced with overwhelming emotions. 

At The Pursuit, a group of experienced therapists have come together to offer best-in-class counseling services. We prioritize clinical theory, non-judgmental approaches, and effective interventions, treatment plans, and coping skills. We have therapists who specialize in different areas and we strive to find the best match for your unique needs. Our services cater to individuals, families, and organizations, including adolescents in high school. We aim to connect you with the specialist who can best address your concerns. Our specialized counseling services aim to address the underlying emotional wounds that contribute to behaviors. We offer evidence-based counseling that is effective in working with many presenting problems. We provide a holistic approach to recovery, focusing on healing the past to create a healthier future. Are you ready to take the first step in your Pursuit towards a happier, healthier you? We invite you to book your free 20-minute consultation with one of our skilled therapists. Don’t wait; it’s time to invest in your well-being. Simply Book Now to start your Pursuit toward personal growth and positive change today or learn more about trauma therapy.

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