Yes, they can. One aim of opposite action is not to let your emotions take the wheel.
Too often we hear of people who become angry, sad, or fearful and allow those emotions to hijack the logical part of their brains. This, in turn, means that they then make decisions with potentially life-altering consequences.
For many, they believe that they don’t have any control over their emotions at all. Yet, that’s simply not true. You definitely have the power to choose not to act on your feelings. You can choose a different course of action.
Can You Learn Opposite Action?
Opposite action does take practice to see the results. Just like learning other DBT skills though, you don’t have to do this alone. By working with a therapist who understands opposite action and DBT skills in general, you will have a greater likelihood of success.
Plus, during your DBT therapy sessions, you can review with the therapist moments when opposite action worked or didn’t. That way you can both understand what happened and continue to refine the skill.
You are a human being with emotions, sure. But, that doesn’t mean you have to always act on them. By learning and practicing DBT skills such as opposite action, it’s possible to make a different choice.