In dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), distress tolerance refers to a set of skills for coping with uncomfortable emotions. One such skill is represented by the acronym “ACCEPTS.”
ACCEPTS outlines strategies for distracting oneself from distressing emotions, giving them time to lessen in intensity, or fade away. Using ACCEPTS, clients will learn a variety of distraction techniques, including focusing on others, creating new competing emotions, and participating in distracting activities.
The first page of the DBT Skill: ACCEPTS worksheet breaks down the acronym, providing a description and examples of each technique. The second page includes prompts for clients to create their own ACCEPTS plan.
When working with a client to create a personal plan, emphasize that their responses should include techniques they would be likely to use, which may be different than the examples on the first page.
For a broader view of other DBT distress tolerance skills, see our overview of the topic:
1. Linehan, M. M. (2014). DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets. Guilford Publications.
2. Linehan, M. M. (2014). DBT Skills Training Manual. Guilford Publications.