Strategies to address negative thinking and feeling
Cognitive Defusion Thought defusion requires the use of your imagination. The object of this skill is to visualise your thoughts, either as pictures or words, harmlessly floating away from you without obsessing about them or analysing them. Whichever way you choose to do this is okay. Here are some suggestions that other people have found helpful: • Imagine sitting in a field watching your thoughts float away on clouds. • Picture yourself sitting near a stream watching your thoughts float past on leaves. • See your thoughts written in the sand and then watch the waves wash them away. • Envision yourself driving a car and see your thoughts pass by on billboards. • See your thoughts leave your head and watch them sizzle in the flame of a candle. • Imagine sitting beside a tree and watch your thoughts float down on leaves. • See your thoughts come and go as they were on the carriages of a train while you are standing on the platform of a station. • Picture yourself standing in a room with two doors; then watch your thoughts enter through one door and leave through the other.
If one of these ideas works for you, that's great. If not, feel free to create your own. Remember to use the concept of radical acceptance while doing this exercise. Let your thoughts be whatever they are and don't get distracted fighting them or criticising yourself for having them. Just let the thoughts come and go.
Edited from The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook, McKay et al., 2007, New Harbinger Publications.