Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) For Addictions

The Bridge-Burning exercise to remove the means of acting on harmful behavior

Lane Pederson, Psy.D., LP, DBTC

The core concept of Bridge-Burning is simple: You cannot act on a harmful behavior if you proactively remove the means.

Bridge-Burning refers to proactively removing the means of acting on your urges to engage in addictive behaviors. The concept of Bridge-Burning recognizes that relapse into harmful behaviors happens more easily when there is the immediate opportunity to act on impulses. Eliminating the opportunities and/or inserting barriers between urge and action will result in more opportunities to practice skills.

Bridge-burning works best in conjunction with other skills. When we remove the ability to act on harmful behaviors, we need to replace them with something new and skillful. Be careful not to trade one unhealthy behavior for another.

You can use Bridge-Burning with your next client. Just download the free guided worksheet from my book, The Expanded Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training Manual, 2nd Edition: DBT for Self-Help and Individual & Group Treatment Settings, to get started.

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Topic: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

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