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Using the TIPP Skill

By Izzy Brown, MA, LPC, R-DMT, Reiki

Welcome back to another blog about skills! This blog post will be focused on the DBT skill TIPP. DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) is a type of therapy that combines elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy with Eastern mindfulness practices. DBT is an evidenced-based treatment for individuals who struggle with emotional regulation and those diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, substance-related use disorder, or eating disorders. TIPP is a key skill taught in DBT. TIPP stands for temperature, intense exercise, paced breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. In this blog, we will explore the DBT skill TIPP and how it can be effective.

TIPP is designed to create a physiological change in the body that can help calm the nervous system and reduce emotional intensity. Each component of TIPP targets a different aspect of the body’s physiology to help achieve this goal.

The first component of TIPP is temperature. This means the individual changes the body’s temperature to create a physiological response that helps regulate emotions. Examples include, splashing cold water on the face, holding a cold pack on a specific body part, taking a cold shower, etc. This will create a diving reflex in the body which slows down the heart rate and can help reduce emotional intensity.

The next component is intense exercise. This means you engage in physical activity to also create physiological response. This can be anything from jumping jacks, running in place, and paced walked. Intense exercise released endorphins which are natural mood-boosters! The more you know!

The third component is paced breathing. This involves slowing down your breathing to, you guessed it, create a physiological response to the body. One way to do this is to inhale for four counts, hold for four counts and exhale for four counts. Paced breathing will help reduce emotional intensity as you are slowing down your heart rate to create a sense of calm.

The final component is progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). This means you tense and relax different muscle groups. One way to do this is you can ball your hands into fists until you are shaking from holding as tight as you can then, slowly release the tension. PMR helps release physical tension in the body. You can try this on different parts of the body where you feel the most emotional intensity.

TIPP is effective because it targets the body’s physiology to create a rapid change in emotional intensity. When individuals are experiencing intense emotions, it can be difficult to engage in coping skills such as problem-solving and or distraction. TIPP is quick and effective to create calmness which can then allow individuals to engage in additional coping skills. If you are struggling to regulate your emotions, visit our website at to get partnered with a therapist! You will learn effective skills you can take with you as you move through your healing journey!

Izzy Brown, MA, LPC, R-DMT

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