Defusion involves noticing your negative thoughts and detaching them so they'll be less likely to create or intensify negative feelings. Research noticed that emotionally troubled people tend to be "fused" tightly to their thoughts, being their thoughts rather than having their thoughts. Researchers have developed techniques to "de-fuse," or detach, people from their negative thoughts, distancing them from the emotional pain those thoughts cause. 

Defusion helps you take your mind less seriously. The techniques you'll learn will help you stop buying in into your negative thoughts so you can carry on with our life despite doubts and fearsThere are few defusion exercises: teaching exercises that allow you to experi­ence and understand fusion and defusion, and simpler, shorter, real-life exercises that you can use in your day-to-day life. Try each of these exercises in turn. 


In this exercise you'll apply the Milk Milk Milk effect to one of the negative labels you tend to apply to yourself. As in the previous exercise, find a private place where you can speak without any concern about being overheard. Starr by summing up a negative thought you have about yourself into one word. Pick a really harsh, emotionally loaded, negative word, like "stupid," "loser," "wimp," "bully," "worthless," "coward," or "failure." A one- or two-syllable word is best; the shorter the word, the better this approach will work. Write the word you've chosen in the space below. Rate how painful or distressful it is to think that this word applies to you using a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means no pain at all and 10 means maximally painful. Then rate how true or believable the word seems to you at this moment using a scale of 0 to 10 in which 0 means notbelievable at all and 10 means totally true and accurate.

Word:__________How painful (0 to 10):________ How true (0 to 10): ______

Now, repeat the word out loud for twenty to forty-five seconds, just like you did the word "milk."

Notice how much meaning detached from your negative word. Did it become less painful? Did it start to become less true or believable: Rate your word again to see how much it changed.

Word:___________How painful (0 to 10):________How true (0 to 10): ______


This is a classic meditation practice, used in various forms all over the world to quiet and clear the mind. 

Find a quiet place to practice where you won't be disturbed. Sit down, close your eyes, and imagine that you're sitting on the bank of a slow-moving stream on a Warm, peaceful autumn day. Occasionally a leaf falls into the water and floats away on the current, drifting out of sight downstream. Give yourself enough time to form a clear picture of the scene.

Start noticing your thoughts. Whenever a thought comes to mind, sum it up in a simple word or phrase: "boring"…"Johnny"…"sad"…"dumb exercise".. ."What’s for lunch?"… And so on.

Put your word or phrase on a leaf and let it float away, out of sight and out of mind. If thoughts arise as images, without specific words, then place the images on the leaves and let them float away. Don't try to make the current flow faster or slower, and don't try to change what's on the leaves in any way.

Don't worry if the stream won't flow or if you find yourself stuck on a leaf along with a thought or image. Don't be surprised or worried if the leaves disappear, the whole scene disap­pears, or you go somewhere else mentally. Just notice that these things happened and then return to the scene beside the stream.

Keep doing this for about five minutes. This should give you enough time to have the experi­ence of trying to let go of your thoughts.

Open your eyes and record your reactions below. If the stream stopped flowing or you went elsewhere mentally, describe what happened:

Defusion applies across the board to all the mood disorders, lessening the impact of the worry thoughts typical of the various anxiety disorders and the judgmental thoughts that fuel depres­sion, anger, and shame. Let's take a look at the applications of defusion for each of these mood states.  Continued on page 2……

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