Hey Everyone, thanks for clicking on my blog! Today I want to talk about DBT! Specifically how my experience has been so far, and for anyone who is following my group therapy journey I’ll be posting what we went over in weeks 3 and 4 at the end of the post!
I asked on Instagram if you guys had any questions, and I want to address them here.
What is DBT?
Dialectal Behavioral Therapy is a therapy developed by Marsha Linehan. Is a multi component cognitive behavioral treatment, with a focus on mindfulness that helps to transform negative thinking patterns and destructive behaviors into positive outcomes. DBT goes over 4 core components: mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and emotional regulation. Originally, DBT was developed to help treat people living with borderline personality disorder, but I have faith that the skills that are learned in DBT would be helpful to anyone. DBT is now recognized as the gold standard psychological treatment for our population.
What is “dialectal”?
The definition of dialectal is: concerned with or acting through opposing forces.
Dialectics remind us that there is always more than one way to see a situation, and more than one way to solve a problem. The universe is filled with opposing sides and forces, and two things that seem like opposites can both be true. Everything and every person is connected in one way or another. Change is the only constant, and each moment is new; reality itself changes with each moment. What we do influences our environment and other people in it, just as they influence us. Change is transactional.
I’ve heard this program takes forever. Is DBT worth my time?
Maybe this seems like common sense, but it is only worth it if you give it your all. You get what you put in. I have in learning DBT since late July this year, I can 100% say yes it is worth the time. There is A LOT to learn and you have to be willing to put in the effort. When I started DBT I strongly felt that it was my last option, I was putting in 110% effort because I was fighting for my life. I know now that there is never a “last option” BUT I will continue give all my effort because I can feel a difference in myself. I believe in this treatment, and I am striving to be the best version of me. I may not be where I need to be yet, and that’s okay I’ve accepted that. I am moving forward, and I know that it takes time.
Why are you so open about your mental health?
I want to break the stigma surrounding mental health. I want people to know that it is okay to call in sick to work if you are having a panic attack. I want people to know that they are not alone. I want people to recognize that EVERYBODY has mental health, and we all need to take care of ourselves. Beyond that, I am open about my mental health journey for myself. I find sharing makes me feel better. There is a special kind of power in being open and vulnerable.
If anyone has any questions about DBT, BPD, or myself feel feel to leave them in the comments, or send me a private message on Instagram or Twitter. If you’ve been following my group therapy journey I apologize for the delay in updates. I missed the third week, and had to take a moment to get my self caught up.
For week three and four the course focuses on distress tolerance. The goals of distress tolerance skills are to:
- Survive crisis situations without making them worse.
- Accept reality; replace suffering and being stuck with ordinary pain and the possibility of moving forward.
- Become free of having to satisfy the demands of your own desires, urges and intense emotions.
Distress tolerance skills are helpful for when you are if you are experiencing an intense pain that cannot be helped quickly, you want to act on your emotions but you understand that it will make the situation worse, you are overwhelmed and have demands to be met. These skills are meant to help you in a crisis, they are not for everyday problems.
First we go over STOP and TIP skills, to help us reduce extreme emotion mind quickly.
Effective Rethinking and Paired Relaxation, Step by Step
1. Write down the prompting event.
2. Ask. What are your interpretations and thoughts about the event that cause you distress. Write these down too.
3. Rethink the situation and it’s meaning. Write down as many effective thoughts that you can think of to replace the stressful event.
4. When you are NOT in the stressful situation – practice imagining the event. At the same time, while breathing in say to yourself an effective statement. When breathing out say Relax – while intentionally relaxing your muscles.
5. Remember that this takes time, and keep practicing.
Distract yourself by focusing your attention on something other than the painful thoughts, feelings, memories, impulses. Use wise mind “ACCEPTS” as a way to remember these skills.
Self soothe by creating neutral or positive events or feelings in the midst of experiencing negative ones. Do something that will improve the moment your in with imagery relaxation. Focus on just that moment. Something that helps me is having a self soothing kit on hand. It doesn’t have to be a lot, having a group of objects set aside specially for soothing is really nice, and I find it extremely helpful in a distressing situation. Make sure you incorporate all 5 senses in your kit! There are various ways you can work on improving the moment, remember “IMPROVE”.
One Thing at a Time
Encouragement and Rethinking the Situation
The final focus of the last two weeks was Radical Acceptance. In short radical acceptance is recognizing and acknowledging what is actually going on now… when your situation cannot improve, accepting the fact that this is the way it is right now. It is accepting in your mind, heart, and body with totality. I intend to go write a more in depth post about acceptance so keep your eyes peeled for that.
So to wrap this up, yes I think DBT is 100 percent worth it, and I also think it is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Thank you for reading, if you are struggling please don’t hesistate to reach out for help it was the best thing I have ever done for myself.
Thank you guys for reading,
lots of love