The Buddy System for Skin Picking Disorders
During treatment for skin picking disorder there is always a large portion of the program that focuses on the indidual developing an awareness of the skin picking behaviors and being able to identify the triggers before picking in order to implement strategies to prevent or detract from picking before it occurs. However this requires constant introspection and self-monitoring. This can be challenging at best when you are already plagued by self-doubt and harsh self-judgement. One way to stay on track with behavior chance is through the use of the buddy system.
What is a 'buddy system'?
A buddy system is a cooperative arrangement whereby individuals are paired or teamed up to monitor and support each other toward a common goal. One blogger shared her experience of using a buddy system. In her post she describes how talking about her compulsion to her friend in detail, together they were able to identify patterns pf prepulling triggers. Having a buddy to talk through your experience of picking may help you develop awareness of the signs that the urge to pick is on the horizon.
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The blogger and her friend agreed that when she became aware of her prepulling triggers, she would contact her 'buddy' who would talk through her urges with her. However this proved to be more difficult to do that was expected. Negative thoughts and feelings of fear, guilt and embarrassment are common feelings experienced by people with dermatillomania. It is critical to the effectiveness of the buddy system that you overcome this first hurdle and reach out for help when you need it. On this blog, we often talk about the importance of having a good support system when trying to manage picking urges. But how does one overcome the negative feelings associated with asking for help?
Whether you have a mental illness, a physical illness or just need a little extra help in times of need, one of the most common reasons we struggle to reach out and ask for help is because we feel guilty and do not want to be a burden to our family or friends, even if that person has offered their assistance. This can be avoided if you manage expectations. By discussing clear boudaries with your buddy, you may find that you feel more secure in asking for help because there is no doubt on your part whether you are allowed to call or not. For example you may agree that certain times of day you will not phone and have in place a contingency plan in the event you experience triggers during these restricted times. You may also make it overt that if your buddy doesn't answer your call that you are not to perceive that to mean your call is being ignored, but rather that your buddy is just not able to answer the call at that exact moment. Discussing various scenarios and being clear about the expectations from both sides with help facilitate your ability to reach out for help as you need it. Talking through your thoughts and feelings prior to picking can help you identify faulty thought patterns and be supported to implement strategies to overcome the urge to pick.