Distraction is a helpful psychological technique and ‘life skill.’ Used in the right amount and with the right motivation it an incredibly adaptive coping strategy. Think of the last time you visited the dentist for a filling—was it helpful to distract yourself from the procedure? And if it was, then why can’t distraction be helpful for your patients too? Conceptually, grounding techniques are a form of distraction, and other techniques such as worry postponement require distraction from intrusive worries. There is evidence that distraction is an effective strategy for tackling depressive rumination (Fennell & Teasdale, 1984) and that it is as effective as cognitive restructuring for tolerating pain (Kohl, Rief, & Glombiewski, 2013). Read more
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Self-focused attention can make people less likely to see their social performance in a positive light, and contributes to the maintenance of social a ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/attention-training-experiment
When people struggle to control the focus of their attention, they find it much harder to interrupt cycles of worry, rumination, and other forms of se ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/attention-training-practice-record
The Grounding Objects exercise is a simple technique which teaches people with PTSD or dissociative disorders how to use objects with particular senso ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/grounding-objects-audio
The Grounding Statements exercise is an audio track from the Psychology Tools For Overcoming PTSD Audio Collection. This audio track is designed for p ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/grounding-statements-audio
Individuals who have experienced trama often find it difficult to stay within the 'window of tolerance'. Grounding techniques (which can be sensory/pe ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/grounding-techniques
Dissociation can be described as a shift of a person’s attention away from the present moment. When working with traumatized clients, this shift oft ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/grounding-techniques-menu
The Recovering From A Nightmare exercise is an audio track from the Psychology Tools For Overcoming PTSD Audio Collection. Many people with PTSD have ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/recovering-from-a-nightmare-audio
Practising Relaxed Breathing serves to reduce physiological arousal and can be an excellent grounding technique. This client information handout descr ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/relaxed-breathing
Relaxed Breathing Exercise 1 is an audio track from the Psychology Tools For Overcoming PTSD Audio Collection. The aim of this breathing exercise is t ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/relaxed-breathing-exercise-1-audio
Relaxed Breathing Exercise 2 is an audio track taken from the Psychology Tools For Overcoming PTSD Audio Collection. The aim of this breathing exercis ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/relaxed-breathing-exercise-2-audio
Breathing Exercise 3 uses the imagery of breathing air of different colours to help the listener make their breathing slower, deeper, and more regular ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/relaxed-breathing-exercise-3-audio
Relaxed Breathing Exercise 4 is an audio track from the Psychology Tools For Overcoming PTSD Audio Collection. Slow, relaxed, diaphragmatic breathing ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/relaxed-breathing-exercise-4-audio
The Sensory Grounding Using Smells exercise is an audio track from the Psychology Tools For Overcoming PTSD Audio Collection. It is designed to teach ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/sensory-grounding-using-smells-audio
The Sensory Grounding Using Your Five Senses exercise is an audio track from the Psychology Tools For Overcoming PTSD Audio Collection. It is designed ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/sensory-grounding-using-your-five-senses-audio
Suppression is a common approach to unwanted thoughts, worriers, doubts, or urges. Unfortunately, there are good reasons why this strategy fails. This ... https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/thought-suppression-and-intrusive-thoughts
Links to external resources
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- Distraction and grounding strategies (OCTC practical guides) | Helen Kennerley | 2016
- Fennell, M. J. V., & Teasdale, J. D. (1984). Effects of distraction on thinking and affect in depressed patients. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 23(1), 65–66.
- Kohl, A., Rief, W., & Glombiewski, J. A. (2013). Acceptance, cognitive restructuring, and distraction as coping strategies for acute pain. The Journal of Pain, 14(3), 305–315.