Trigger - n. a stimulus that elicits a reaction. For example, an event could be a trigger for a memory of a past experience and an accompanying state of emotional arousal.
Quite often, when people hear the word “trigger” in a therapeutic context, one may immediately think of substance use and “relapse triggers”. Although substance use is part of this discussion for this exercise, it is important to consider that the idea of feeling “triggered” can also relate to many mental and emotional situations and disorders. Here is a brief list of some life areas where triggers can come into play. Discuss how triggers can come into play in the following areas when they apply:
“Behavioral Addictions” such as gambling, sex, spending, etc.
Insecurity/Self-doubt/Self esteem issues
Anxiety in all of its forms including these:
Ø Generalized anxiety
Ø Panic attacks
Ø Social anxiety
So, remember, that a “trigger” is anything that stimulates or instigates a problematic set of symptoms, emotions or behaviors. We can feel “triggered” in many different ways and in many life areas
Exercise: Trigger Wheel
Directions: Use the previous list we just reviewed or add some of your own ideas. Then, choose 5 of these life areas where you could possibly experience feeling “trigged” (If you cannot come up with five, just X out the sections of the trigger wheel that you do not use.) Start your list of 5 life areas where you experience triggers:
5Now draw a "trigger wheel" by making a circle with 5 sections. Write your five identified trigger life areas in the wheel by writing one in each section of the wheel . Then, write down some of your actual triggers for these trigger areas within each section. Discuss your Trigger Wheels as a Group