The Skillful Podcast Episode 16 | Opposite Action

Sometimes it’s better to not act on our emotions. The DBT skill Opposite Action helps you act opposite to what your emotion is telling you to do. Use this skill when your emotion doesn’t fit the facts or when your emotion does fit the facts but acting on the emotion isn’t effective.

This skill can help you act the way you want to feel instead of the way you do feel. Make sure you use this skill to change emotions you want to change, not emotions that other people want you to change. This skill has several steps so listen in to learn how to fully change the way you feel.

Show Highlights:

Sometimes people feel it’s inauthentic or fake to change their emotion
Start by identifying the emotion you are having
This skill requires you to use another skill called Check the Facts
Ask yourself if the intensity of your emotion and how long lasts fits the facts
Emotions have action urges
Ask yourself what actions your emotion is telling you to do and then do the opposite of that
Doing opposite action halfway won’t work, you have to go all-in
Fear often leads to avoidance of the scary thing
Use your whole body when you do Opposite Action
Your emotion may fit the facts but acting on that emotion may not be effective for your goals
Sometimes sadness is based on assumptions about what might or might not happen in the future

DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition (

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