The Skillful Podcast Episode 57- Figuring Out How to Change Painful Emotions

#57: Figuring Out How to Change Painful Emotions

Once you have a grasp of the change-oriented skills in DBT (such as Check the Facts, Opposite Action, and Problem Solving) it can be hard to figure out which one to use. 

This episode walks you through deciding if and when to act on an unwanted emotion.

Show Highlights

  • Emotions motivate us to take action
  • The first skill to consider is Check the Facts
  • Sometimes painful or unwanted emotions are based on old stories we tell ourselves, or on habits of thinking
  • What are the actual facts and what are the additional thoughts I am adding to the facts?
  • Check the Facts slows us down and gets us to really think about what is going on
  • If your emotion mostly fits the facts, check with Wise Mind to see if acting on the emotion is effective
  • Effectiveness is determined by what is going to help you reach your goals
  • The skill Mindfulness of Current Emotions can help you experience the emotion without it overwhelming you
  • Sometimes your emotion does fit the facts, but acting on it now isn’t effective
  • If it isn’t effective to express your emotion, consider using Opposite Action
  • If the facts are the problem, use Problem Solving
  • Sometimes short term Opposite Action is useful until you can think of an effective way to express a justified emotion
  • Opposite Action is not about suppressing the emotion, it’s more about acting how you want to feel, or acting in a way that is aligned with your values and goals
  • Remember that you have options when you experience unwanted and uncomfortable emotions

DBT Skills Discussed


Ask us a Question

We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.