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Affect tolerance


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Hi forum,

Part of the counseling I have gotten is to work on affect tolerance, that is just sitting with a bad feeling and allowing it to be until it wears out. How do you know when tolerating the pain is the right course of action and when it is appropriate to do something about it? I'm no longer seeing the therapist who taught me this but I do still have her email address, so I guess I could ask her but more opinions is better than just one :)

How do mentally well/competent people do this? Are there certain criteria that one can use to evaluate a situation to see if it should be "tolerated"?

Thanks all.

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  • 5 months later...
Guest ASchwartz


You ask a very good question. I guess the answer, in part, is that, if the emotional pain persists for more than two weeks, help is needed. Most people have bad feelings when a crisis occurs or when a loved one dies. They can and should stay with and tolerate their emotions. However, I have known people who remains just as bad off a year later as they did when the crisis or loss first happened. We need to be able to move on with life. If we cannot then we have a mental health problem.

Does this help??


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