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Managing Emotions

You can learn new skills for managing feelings that can lead to compulsive food behaviors. 

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

DBT is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that focuses on building skills for managing powerful emotions. Many people with compulsive food behaviors deal with their feelings by eating or restricting. Compulsive eating can make painful emotions go away immediately, but there are almost always negative emotional and physical consequences. And in addition, compulsive eating doesn’t actually solve the problems that brought on the emotions in the first place.

DBT can help you manage strong emotions that are getting you in trouble, but without any negative consequences. To understand more, please listen to our Secular Overeaters DBT Workshop recording:

31024 | Secular Overeaters Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Workshop | 67 min
Susan, a CBT and DBT therapist and member of OA, shares different techniques (e.g., RAIN, STOP, TIPP, ACCEPT, IMPROVE and Alternate Rebellion) to help members mitigate compulsive food issues.

SO DBT Class

SO offered an 8-week class through May 2024 for anyone interested in learning DBT skills to overcome compulsive eating behaviors. We covered mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance skills. Resources, including class recordings, have been posted here.

Class Resources and Recordings

Week 1 Recording (4 April 2024, 40 min)
Handouts: The Wise Mind 

Week 2 Recording (10 April 2024, 42 min)
Handouts: Effectively

Week 3 Recording (18 April 2024, 39 min)
Handouts: Check the Facts

Week 4 Recording (25 April 2024, 25 min)
Handouts: Problem Solving

Week 5 Recording (2 May 2024, 33 min)
Handouts: Opposite Action

Week 6 Recording (9 May 2024, 29 min)
Handouts: DEAR MAN
Video Link:

Week 7 Recording  (16 May 2024, 30 min)
Handouts: Radical Acceptance
Video Link:

Week 8 Recording (23 May 2024, 25 min)
Video Link:

DBT Techniques

Some people work with therapists who have training in DBT or join DBT-focused skills groups. You can also learn a lot on your own. Here’s a sample of some skills that help manage strong emotions. (Many techniques are referred to by their acronyms, so you can remember them when you need them the most.)

RAIN Meditation:  A mindfulness technique for becoming aware of feelings. RAIN stands for Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture.

STOP Skill: STOP stands for Stop, Take a step back, Observe, and Proceed mindfully.

TIP Skill: Tip the temperature of your face, Intense exercise, Paced breathing

Distracting (Wise Mind ACCEPTS): ACCEPTS stands for Activities, Contributing, Comparisons, Emotions, Pushing away, Thoughts, and Sensations.

Improving the Moment (IMPROVE): IMPROVE stands for Imagery, Meaning, Prayer (meditation), Relaxing actions, One thing in the moment, brief Vacation, self-Encouragement and rethinking the situation.

Alternate Rebellion and Adaptive Denial 

To find out more about these techniques, check out the DBT resources below.

DBT Resources   

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Matthew McKay, Jeffrey C. Wood, and Jeffrey Brantley

Calming the Emotional Storm: Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Manage Your Emotions and Balance Your Life by Sheri Van Dijk

DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition by Marsha M. Linehan

DBT for Dummies by Gillian Galen, PsyD and Blaise Aguirre, MD.

DBT-RU: DBT Skills from Experts
The DBT-RU channel brings Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills to as many people as possible. You can access important tools like mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance, directly from DBT experts.

positive psychology
Includes lessons on DBT skills, videos, and some downloadable worksheets.

"No, don't do it!" telepathizes the emotional support being, "Try DBT instead of managing your feelings with food!" Collage by Jenny M.