Defusing techniques

Defusing techniques

Defusing techniques involve distancing, disconnecting or seeing thoughts and feelings.

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Defusion involves distancing, disconnecting or seeing thoughts and feelings for what they are (streams of words, passing sensations), not what they say they are (dangers or facts).


STOP, STEP BACK, OBSERVE (the thoughts and feelings, what's happening to/for the other person).

Notice what's happening - your thoughts, physical sensations, emotions, images, memories. Notice the way you're interpreting what they mean, and how that's affecting you.


Notice the unhelpful thoughts. It can help to say them differently, in a non-threatening way: slowly, in a squeaky or comic voice or write them down.

Identify the emotion you're feeling, and label the unhelpful thoughts

  • an evaluation or judgement
  • a prediction
  • a feeling or sensation
  • a memory
  • an opinion
  • an unhelpful thinking habit: mind-reading (assuming we know what others are thinking), negative filter (only noticing the bad stuff), emotional reasoning (I feel bad so it must be bad), catastrophising (imagining the worst), the internal critic etc.