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A curious skill taught in DBT is Alternate Rebellion. This particular skill talks to our punk heart. The idea is that you can express your inner anarchist in a way that is not destructive to yourself or others; a safer way to respect a desire to act out, stand out or participate in risky endeavours. Instead of desperately trying to suppress or judge an urge to rebel, we can mindfully find an ‘effective’ meaningful or creative way to rebel. Alternate rebellion may replace any behaviour that had negative consequences but felt righteous at the time.
Whether something has triggered in you a need to be defiant…or you’re bored and want stimulation. Alternate Rebellion protects from negative consequences of Destructive Rebellion, while still allowing self expression.
Here are some ideas for ‘Alternate Rebellion’:
- Wear clothes that speak to you regardless of whether you fit in. (‘Why fit in when you were born to stand out!’)
- Paint your nails wild colours.
- Style your hair in a different way.
- Wear a top hat to a gig.
- Source some standout specs.
- Find an old punk record and play it loud.
- Express yourself, speak up, engage in feminist dialogue, or find another cause to put your energy into.
- Create some bold art.
- Find a style of dance that helps you really let loose.
- Acting a role or playing some music that empowers.
- Wear a punk t-shirt under your corporate suit or work uniform.
Enjoy coming up with your own forms of Alternate Rebellion and stay safe!
Another skill often taught alongside Alternate Rebellion is ‘Adaptive Denial’. Adaptive Denial is a cognitive skill involving an unhelpful or unwanted urge, image or impulse to do something ineffective. The idea is that we can deny the urge to smoke a cigarette or binge on food for example by reframing what it is we really want. That is, the urge to do the problem behaviour is not really an urge to do the problem behaviour, but an urge for company, comfort, avoidance, distraction, etc. Once, the denial, then delaying the problem behaviour comes next.
These are two of countless skills and strategies learned in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Training that may be helpful in tolerating distress. There are many more skills and strategies to try!
Melbourne Centre for Women’s Mental Health provides Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Training for women and girls. Book online for your initial appointment today!
Skocic, S. 2019