DBT Series 14 - PLEASE

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Welcome back! A quick reminder: Emotion Regulation skills are “to reduce emotional suffering” (1). The next skill we will visit is called PLEASE. The PLEASE skill helps reduce our vulnerability to and negative impacts from stress by caring for our physical health.

PLEASE is an acronym that stands for:

  • (PL) Physical Illness
  • (E) Balanced Eating
  • (A) Avoid Mood-Altering Substances
  • (S) Balanced Sleep
  • (E) Exercise

Let’s break this down.

(PL) Physical Illness. This first part refers to treating physical illnesses by seeing your primary care physician, specialists, and/or treatment team as well as getting rest when feeling physically unwell. This can also be a proactive skill by taking medications, vitamins, supplements, etc every day and as prescribed by your provider.

(E) Balanced Eating. This refers to eating consistently throughout the day. Be mindful if you are over- or under-eating. Find the amount that feels just right for you. You may also look into meeting with a Registered Dietician if additional support regarding eating/feeding is needed.

(A) Avoid Mood-Altering Substances. Things like drugs and alcohol can increase our vulnerability to negative emotions or even rebound effects. Another possible mood-altering substance to be mindful of when consuming (especially when you are feeling anxious or on edge!) is caffeine.

(S) Balanced Sleep. Similar to Balanced Eating, be sure to get quality, adequate amounts of sleep, not too much or not too little. Another part of Balanced Sleep includes developing a bedtime routine to help you get ready for sleep. This can include dimming the lights as it gets closer to bedtime and limiting exposure to blue light-emitting devices such as TVs or phones.

(E) Exercise. This last part of the skill includes getting some sort of movement in every day for at least 15-20 minutes. I encourage clients to find activities and movements that are meaningful and enjoyable for them.

Want to hear more about the DBT PLEASE skill? Check out this free video from DBT-RU to hear more! (2)


(1) Linehan, M. M. (2015). DBT Skills Training Manual (2nd ed., p. 323). The Guilford Press.

(2) [@DBTRU]. (2020, December 8). PLEASE  [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jiYIHVGKCE&t=2s

Reminder: these blog posts are meant to be purely educational and/or entertainment tools and do NOT replace psychotherapy and/or other medically necessary treatments.

Are you ready to take the first step?