New skills and new perspectives…


DBT comprises of 4 core modules. For me, the distress tolerance module is the one that I find most difficult. There is a possibility of having EMDR for some of my symptoms but when Penelope and I discussed this possibility in our last session, we both came to the conclusion that at the moment my distress tolerance skills are not as strong as they need to be to withstand that kind of work. I am disappointed but I know what I need to do to enable that to happen.

So we returned to the distress tolerance skills with a new impetus. We talked through that of all my senses/ learning styles- visual stimuli wins hands down. I am hugely influenced by what I see… I love shapes and in particular colour… I do sometimes look at images to soothe myself and that has been helpful in the past.In my crisis plan, I had already identified that I really enjoy architecture and looking at buildings. I spent quite a long time in hospital once overlooking Big Ben- I don’t think I ever tired of that view.


So Penelope and I discussed using photography as a distress tolerance skill. I do not like photographing people- but I could relate to taking photos of buildings and nature. I was able to find and dig out an old digital camera I had a few years ago.

As it turned out I had arranged to meet a friend in London at the weekend. I decided to go earlier with my camera and see what happened. London is just the best city in the world. The sun was glorious, I had time and a camera in my hand and I went for a stroll. The strangest thing happened- I was so fearful of getting the camera out and start clicking… It was bizarre, I found myself frozen with fear. I was just too scared to take pictures! I’m not entirely sure what on earth that was about- but I was able to be mindful of this emotion and work through the skills to get me to a place where I got the thing out!

I began to relax, snap and enjoy. The amazing thing was that looking for things to photograph changed the way I looked at things. I looked up a lot. I looked in places I wouldn’t normally look at. I saw details, perspectives, colours and shapes that I had never seen before- even though I knew this part of London really well. I saw things that I’ve seen before but never really seen. I’ve sat on this bench before but I’d never noticed the arms…


I’ve walked past these lamp posts on the Embankment loads of times but I never knew they looked like this…


I didn’t even know this shop existed- even though I used to walk post it often!

I really enjoyed my mooch around Temple with my camera. I intend to use this skill more for managing distress tolerance- the process of walking, creativity and then being able to look at the photos afterwards seems like a good combination for me!

Thanks for listening. I hope the snaps might be of some help to some of us.








One response »

  1. I think it’s fantastic you are taking photos! I recently did a blog post myself on photography for calm. I haven’t had DBT at all but I found myself, simply from having a partner who is a photographer encourage me all the time that if I was bored or restless or upset to go take photos (because it soothes her) and I eventually gave in and did just that and it really does calm me. I started in my happy place, which is the beach, and I live near one so it was easy enough to walk down there and just see what happened when I took photos. Turned out some are actually quite good and I find peace taking 100 snaps of waves hitting rocks to get the perfect splash etc. Then I revel in my ‘amazing abilities’ for a while after lol.

    I do find it works to calm me, I had no idea it may help me with my distress intolerance which is something my psychologist has sent me links to modules on websites to do and have never done….interesting…I think she was attempting to DBT me and I blocked her lol.

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