In my job as a therapist, I regularly teach the skill of opposite action. Opposite action is a DBT Emotion Regulation skill, it is used when acting on your emotions do not fit the facts or when acting on your emotions is not effective. Recently as I was leading group and we were having this discussion I used the example of the emotion of fear. According to DBT fear has times when it is appropriate, such as when your life, health or well being is threatened or that of someone you care’s life, health or well-being is threatened. I know for me, there are times I feel fear and there is not a prompting event that fits the facts, maybe you don’t have those times but I know that I do.
I explained in my group, using my own experience of being afraid or having fear with doing groups. When I was an intern, I was so afraid to do groups. Somewhere in there I decided that I was going to need to get over this. So I did the opposite action of fear, which is doing what you are afraid of over and over again. So I started to do groups, and I did a lot of them. Now, I am able to do groups without any fear, and from the feedback I get, I am actually pretty good at it.
So today as I was running and thinking about things, I began to think about my upcoming trip to Congo and all the public speaking I am going to have to do. For those that know me, they know I hate public speaking. When I speak in public I feel my face get hot and it turns red. As I was thinking about the upcoming trip the therapist in me turned in and reminded me about opposite action. So I started to check the facts on my fear. My fear did not have the prompting event and was not appropriate. This means that I need to do the opposite action of fear and do what I fear over and over again.
Also in case you are wondering, I still need your help to raise funds to return to Congo. Our team is leaving July 9 and will be returning July 23. Each team member is responsible to raise $4000 and I have 75% of the way to being fully funded. Please give here