DBT Skill: Opposite Action

Sometimes the emotion doesn’t fit the facts of what’s going on or acting on the emotion would not be effective. If this is true for you, try doing the opposite of what your emotion is driving you to do.

Here are some examples of how opposite action can be used: 

    • If you are angry and have the urge to pick a verbal fight, try being being gentle by talking slower and softer or try walking away to take a break. 
    • If you are sad and have to urge to isolate, try spending time with others or calling someone. 
    • If you are afraid of failing and have the urge to not pursue a challenge, try making a list of your successes and using this as evidence that you can do hard things. 

We’re here to help you figure out how to effectively cope with your emotions.

*Information adapted from DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition by Marsha M Linehan. Copyright 2015 by MarshaM Linehan.