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DBT Self-Soothing 5 Senses (PDF)

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Self-soothing is a DBT distress tolerance skill that involves doing things that feel comforting and pleasant, providing immediate relief from stress or pain. This is a skill that allows gentleness and mindful compassion for yourself. Learning to calm and soothe yourself helps your body feel relaxed while dealing with a distressing situation.

The DBT Self-Soothing 5 Senses PDF handout includes ways to self-soothe with the five senses — vision, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. It provides specific examples, such as watching the sunset, paying attention to sounds of nature, taking a warm bubble bath, or drinking hot chocolate.

Using your senses can help in mental and emotional grounding, which can increase one’s ability to focus and relax when things get overwhelming. This handout can be used to help kids and teens practice the self-soothing skill, and afterwards they can describe their experience.

Kids and teens can list the specific techniques they are willing to practice and discuss their progress with a mental health professional in their next session. Our DBT self-soothing worksheet can be used as supplementary activity to this handout.

*This item is an instant digital download. A link to download your files will be emailed to you once payment is confirmed.

Want more resources like this? Check out our full catalog of DBT worksheets and handouts.


  1. Lozier, C. (2018). DBT Therapeutic Activity Ideas for Working with Teens: Skills and Exercises for Working with Clients with Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, and Other Emotional Sensitivities. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  2. Van Dijk, S., McKay, M., Wood, J. C., Brantley, J., MD, Fanning, P., PsyD, E. P., & PsyD, P. E. Z. O. (2023). Distress tolerance made easy: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills for Dealing with Intense Emotions in Difficult Times.
  3. Linehan, M. M. (2014). DBT skills training handouts and worksheets. Guilford Publications.
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  • File: PDF
  • Size: 8.5" x 11"

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