Helpful Handouts, Uncategorized

Distress Tolerance Handout 5

Pros and Cons

Use pros and cons any time you have to decide between two courses of action.

  • An urge is a crisis when it is very strong and when acting on the urge will make things worse in the long term
  • Make a list of the pros and cons of acting on your crisis urges. These might be to engage in dangerous, addictive, or harmful behaviors, or they might be to give in, give up, or avoid doing what is necessary to build a life you want to live.
  • Make another list of the pros and cons of resisting crisis urges – that is, tolerating the distress and not giving in to the urges.
  • Use the grid below to evaluate both sets of pros and cons (this type of grid is also used in Distress Tolerance Worksheet 3). Or you can use the type of grid seen in Distress Tolerance Worksheet 3a and in the pros-and-cons worksheets for other modules.

(Since I can’t figure out how to put a grid/table into this blog I’m just going to tell you what it looks like and what you’re supposed to put in each box. It’s 4 squares, two on top, two on the bottom. Looking something like

A                   B

C                  D

On the left side of box A there is a label for it “Acting on crisis urges”

On the left side of box C there is a label “Resisting crisis urges”

Above box A it says Pros, and above box B it says Cons

Fairly simple. (I’ll try to get a picture of it posted in here eventually I just don’t have access to a photo of it right now.)

Box A is supposed to consist of “Pros of acting on impulsive urges, giving in, giving up, or avoiding what needs to be done.”

Box B is supposed to consist of “Cons of acting on impulsive urges, giving in, giving up, or avoiding what needs to be done.”

Box C is supposed to consist of “Pros of resisting impulsive urges, doing what needs to be done and not giving up.”

And lastly, Box D is “Cons of resisting impulsive urges, doing what needs to be done, and not giving up.”)

Before an overwhelming crisis urge hits:

Write out your pros and cons; carry them with you.

Rehearse your pros and cons over and over.

When an overwhelming crisis urge hits:

Review your pros and cons. Get out your list and read it over again.

  • Imagine the positive consequences of resisting the urge.
  • Think of the negative consequences of giving in to crisis behaviors.
  • Remember past consequences when you have acted on crisis urges.
From DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition, by Marsha M. Linehan. Copyright 2015 by Marsha M. Linehan. Permission to photocopy this handout is granted to purchasers of DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition and DBT Skills Training Manual, Second Edition, for personal use and use with individual clients only. (See page ii of this packet for details.)

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