This practical approach to reducing distress needs to be taught and practiced, in order for it to be useful at times of distress. This includes recognising when distress may be escalating and employing the techniques before they become overwhelming. For further information on recognising emotions refer to the Emotion Regulation module.
When identifying techniques the young person may like to try, it may be useful to use an ‘experimental’ approach in collaboration with the client. In this way, the young person can ‘try out’ different techniques and report on their efficacy, without feeling like they have failed if their distress remains high.
G3iii. Self-soothing & relaxation
Individuals vary substantially in what works to help them relax. The practitioner offers a range of ideas and explores them with the client until he or she finds one or more techniques that work best.
C1v. Independent practice in the real world
If using self-soothing techniques is new to the young person, getting them to practice the ideas they have chosen during times when they have low distress may make it more likely that they will be able to utilise them during periods of distress. In residential or outreach settings, modeling and practicing the self-soothing techniques may also increase the chance of integrating the new behaviours.