DBT Stop Skill

Using a Distress Tolerance Skill in Real World Situations

Are you struggling to cope with stress? Are you overwhelmed with the demands of everyday life? Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that can help individuals learn skills to better manage their emotions, relationships, and behaviors.

In this article, we will be looking at DBT, and in particular, the DBT stop skill. Learning this skill can help you become more aware of your emotions and environment so that you can get rid of unhealthy behaviors and move through life and recovery more effectively.

If you would like to know more about DBT, contact Icarus Behavioral Health today to find out how DBT can help you find recovery from a range of addiction and mental health issues!

Important DBT Skills that Support Recovery

Important DBT Skills that Support Recovery

The DBT Stop Skill is one of the four components that comprise DBT. DBT is an evidence-based form of therapy developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, which seeks to help people regulate their emotions and behavior more effectively. The four components are Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. The Stop Skill falls into the category of Mindfulness.

The ability to take a step back, pause and consider your options can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to managing difficult emotions or situations. By taking a mindful stance, you are better able to avoid knee-jerk reactions that may cause long-term harm or regret.

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Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Stop Skill

The DBT Stop Skill is a powerful tool to help people become more aware of their emotions and environment in order to make better decisions about how to respond to difficult situations. As you practice the skill, you will become more adept at recognizing and accepting your current circumstances, as well as having the ability to take action in a more thoughtful manner. The skill consists of five steps:

Stop and Pause

Take a deep breath and just pause. This will help you become aware of how you are feeling and what is happening in the moment that needs your attention.


Observe your body, thoughts, and emotions without judgment. Notice what is happening in the moment, both inside and outside of yourself.

Step Back

Take a step back from the situation to gain some perspective and identify any potential options or solutions that may be available to you.

Self Soothing

Take care of yourself during this time. This can include using calming techniques such as deep breathing, positive self-talk, or relaxation exercises.

Proceed Mindfully

Proceed mindfully – return to the situation with new insights and make a conscious choice on how you would like to respond.

Why is the DBT Stop Skill so Valuable?

Using DBT therapy approaches and the Stop Skill can help you become less reactive in difficult situations and more mindful of your own emotions and thoughts. By taking the time to become aware of what is happening within yourself, you can make better decisions about how to respond. Additionally, by allowing yourself to take a step back from the situation and identify potential options or solutions, you will be able to choose a response that is best for you.

The skill is an important tool to help you stay connected to yourself and become more aware of your inner thoughts and feelings. It also helps you cultivate a greater sense of acceptance and self-compassion as well as an understanding that challenging times are part of life. With the DBT Stop Skill, you will gain a better capacity to manage difficult emotions, situations, and relationships in an effective and mindful manner.

What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a form of psychotherapy that combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness practices. It’s used to help people manage difficult emotions and develop healthier coping mechanisms. This type of therapy was originally developed by Marsha Linehan in the late 1980s to treat the mental illness borderline personality disorder but has since been adapted to treat a variety of mental health issues, including substance abuse, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The primary goal of DBT residential treatment centers is to help you become more mindful and better able to regulate your emotions and emotional pain. This is accomplished through four main techniques: mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation.


Mindfulness focuses on helping you become aware of your emotions and the environment around you without judgment. This can be done by focusing on the present moment, accepting yourself as you are, and noticing how certain thoughts or feelings affect your behavior. When you are practicing mindfulness, it can be helpful to continue breathing deeply

Distress Tolerance

Distress tolerance teaches you to accept difficult situations that cannot be changed and treat them with compassion. You learn techniques such as radical acceptance, and self-soothing, and distract yourself with activities that bring you joy.

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Interpersonal Effectiveness

Interpersonal effectiveness is a set of communication skills used to help you build healthier relationships with those around you. This includes learning how to express your needs in an assertive yet respectful way while also protecting your rights and preserving important relationships.

Emotional Regulation

Emotion regulation focuses on helping you understand and manage your emotions in a healthy way. This includes identifying and changing the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to unhealthy emotional states. It also involves accepting reality and learning how to cope with intense emotions in a constructive way.

DBT is typically conducted in weekly individual or group therapy sessions that last for 90 minutes. During these sessions, you’ll work with your therapist to identify triggers and build skills that will help you better manage difficult emotions. There are also homework assignments that you can do between sessions to further practice the techniques learned in therapy.

DBT: Distress Tolerance Skills

Accepting Emotions

So, what are distress tolerance skills in DBT and how can they help? Distress tolerance skills include the ability to accept one’s own feelings and emotions, even if they are uncomfortable; the capacity to be aware of and mindful of your surroundings; being able to delay gratification when necessary; regulating one’s emotions; being able to tolerate distress without resorting to maladaptive behaviors such as self-harm or substance use.

Accepting Emotions

One important stress tolerance skill is the ability to accept one’s own emotions, even if they are uncomfortable. This can be difficult for some individuals because it goes against our natural tendency to avoid and resist difficult emotions. When we resist our feelings, they become more intense and can lead to increased stress. Acceptance of one’s own emotions helps us not only cope with stressful situations more effectively but also to build inner resilience as we learn how to manage our emotions in healthy ways.

Being Mindful of Your Environment and Surroundings

Another skill is being mindful of your environment and surroundings. This means being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judging them. Mindfulness can help us to be more present in our lives and better able to respond rather than react to situations that may cause stress.

Regulating Emotions

Regulating one’s emotions is another key skill for managing stress. This involves learning how to recognize and identify different emotions, understanding how they affect us and being able to control our emotional responses. It also involves learning healthy ways to release and cope with difficult emotions, such as talking to a friend or engaging in physical activity.

Delaying Gratification

Being able to delay gratification is another skill that helps individuals tolerate stress more effectively. This means having the ability to resist immediate urges in order to achieve a greater long-term reward. This can be particularly challenging when faced with stressful situations, but it is an important skill for managing stress as it helps individuals learn how to make wise decisions that are in their best interest.

Distress Tolerance Skill Building

Distress tolerance skills involve learning healthy coping strategies and techniques that can help manage intense emotions without resorting to self-harm or substance use. Examples of stress tolerance skills include deep breathing, positive self-talk, journaling, distraction techniques, and mindfulness practices.

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Your Home for DBT Skills and Real World Recovery Success

At Icarus Behavioral Health, our staff is trained in all aspects of DBT. We know that incorporating DBT and the DBT stop skill can be of enormous benefit if you have addiction or mental health problems.

Contact us today for a confidential discussion of options, and get solutions by becoming a part of our recovery community now!

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