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Artwork © 2015 Jocelyn Patrick

Grounding

WHAT IS GROUNDING?

Grounding is a set of simple strategies to detach from emotional pain (for example, drug cravings, self-harm impulses, anger, sadness). Distraction works by focusing outward on the external world rather than inward toward the self. You can also think of it as “distraction”, “centering”, “a safe place”, “looking outward”, or “healthy detachment”.

WHY DO GROUNDING?

When you are overwhelmed with emotional pain you need a way to detach so that you can gain control over your feelings and stay safe. As long as you are grounding, you cannot possibly use substances to hurt yourself! Grounding “anchors” you to present and to reality.

Many people with PTSD and substance abuse struggle with either feeling too much (overwhelming emotions and memories) or too little (numbing and dissociation). In grounding you attain balance between the two - conscious of reality and able to tolerate it.

KEY IDEAS ABOUT EMOTIONAL PAIN

No feeling is final - No matter how miserable a feeling, it can change even if it feels like it never will.

Pain is a feeling, it is not who you are - When you get caught up in it, you feel like you are your pain and that is all that exists. But it is only one part of your experience - the others are just hidden and can be found again through grounding.

GUIDELINES

Grounding can be done anytime, any place, anywhere and noone has to know.

Use grounding when you are:

Grounding puts healthy distance between you and these negative feelings.

To Practice Grounding:

WHAT IF GROUNDING DOES NOT WORK?

Don't give up!

References:

Original Source:
Two Rivers Psychiatric Hospital. (2003). What is Grounding? [patient informational handout].

Patient Handout Transcribed From:
Najavits, L. M. (2002). Seeking safety: A treatment manual for PTSD and substance abuse. New York: Guilford Press.