Radical acceptance is one of several distress tolerance skills. These skills refer to a type of intervention in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) where clients learn to manage distress in a healthy way. These skills are helpful for situations where a client might not be able to control a situation, but they need to manage their own response.
I’ve utilized radical acceptance when clients were molested, raped, a victim of domestic violence, or any other horrific incident you can think of happening. I thought this would be a good one to start with today because of the tragic gun shooting in Orlando.
From therapistaid.com, here is what they say about radical acceptance: “Sometimes you’ll run into a problem that’s simply out of your control. It can be easy to think “This isn’t fair” or “I shouldn’t have this problem”, even though those ways of thinking only make the pain worse. Radical acceptance refers to a healthier way of thinking during these situations. Instead of focusing on how you would like something to be different, you will recognize and accept the problem or situation as it is. Remember, accepting is not the same as liking or condoning something. Learning to accept the problems that are out of your control will lead to less anxiety, anger, and sadness when dealing with them.”
Then, I give the following questions as homework:
Describe a situation that causes suffering:
Describe changes you could make to the situation if possible:
Describe what you can realistically change through problem-solving and/or shifting your thoughts:
Describe what you may need to radically accept:
Describe how your life will be different when you have radically accepted this situation:
Describe how you will acnowledge and celebrate your freedom from suffering: