Managing Distress With the DBT Skill “ACCEPTS”

Living with Borderline Personality Disorder

In DBT skills class this week we went through the Distress Tolerancedistraction-based skill of ACCEPTS.

Using the distraction skills helps tolerate distress by creating a gap between whatever set it off initially and what you are subsequently choosing to focus your attention on. Although Distress Tolerance is about “not making a situation worse” as opposed to making it better, the skills in ACCEPTS can help to influence other less distressing emotions as a secondary benefit.

Because it is fundamentally a Distress Tolerance technique it is important not to become over-reliant on distraction skills. Of course, if you were to distract from all your problems it would be likely to be ineffective as it would become total avoidance. Therefore, these skills are specifically helpful to implement only during times when:

  1. You are becoming overwhelmed by your emotions to the point it is not effective to go with them.
  2. You are…

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