The word for this week is GROUNDING.
The following definition is taken from Seeking Safety: A Treatment for PTSD and Substance Abuse (L. Najavatis). Grounding is a set of strategies to detach from emotional pain, (i.e. racing and thoughts, negative talk, worries, anger, sadness). Distraction works by focusing outward on the external world, rather than inward toward the self. You rate yourself before and after the grounding (on a scale of 1 – 10).
I teach grounding skills to people who stutter in my private practice. The skills help my clients to manage racing thoughts about their stutter; calm themselves before a speaking situation and reduce overall anxiety.
Take the opportunity to read and learn more about Grounding, below. The material is adapted from Seeking Safety (Najavatis, L., 2002, Detaching From Emotional Pain).
Grounding: Grounding is a set of strategies to detach from emotional pain, (i.e. racing and thoughts, negative talk, worries, anger, sadness). Distraction works by focusing outward on the external world, rather than inward toward the self. You rate yourself before and after the grounding (on a scale of 1 – 10).
Why Grounding: When you are overwhelmed with emotional pain, you need a way to detach so that you can gain control over your thoughts and feelings. Grounding “anchors” you to the present and to reality. Many people who stutter struggle with feeling too much (overwhelming emotions, memories, worries) or too little (numbing, avoiding). In grounding, you attain a balance between the two: aware of reality and able to tolerate it.
Grounding is also the relationship between a person and the earth. When we are grounded we have a sense of self in relationship and space. We are not worried about the past or the future. You can be focused in the present moment.
Examples of Grounding:
- Imagine putting your worry thoughts or painful emotions into a container, and then putting distance between yourself and the container (i.e. across a football field, over a mountain, etc.)
- Remind yourself that you are safe. Notice your breathing, and slow it down. Notice your self talk, and make it compassionate (not harsh). Notice where you don’t have tension in your body.
- Physical Grounding: Wiggle your toes, dig your heels into the ground, carry an object in your pocket that you can touch, run cool water over your hands.
- Mental Grounding: describe your environment (i.e. the walls are white, there are five chairs, there is a clock on the wall), name the colors in a room, select a category (i.e. name TV shows, sports teams, musicians, etc.) count from one to 10.
- Soothing Grounding: Think of your favorites (i.e. colors, animals, food, TV shows, books), recall a favorite song (think of the lyrics and the beat), put your hands under a running faucet, describe a safe place or favorite memory to yourself.
My Favorite Grounding Skills are:
I use grounding skills when: _____________________________________________________________________________
adapted from Najavatis, L. (2002). Detaching from Emotional Pain (Grounding). In H. T. Blane and T. R. Kosten (Eds), Seeking Safety: A Treatment for PTSD and Substance Abuse (First Edition, p. 130-135) New York, NY, The Guilford Press.
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