Monday, July 25, 2011

Mental Health Monday: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Finally, I am getting some help from Mental Health. I have been placed in a program called DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy.) It is aimed at helping people who use life-threatening behaviours as a way of coping with intense and unstable emotions. (eg. self harm, suicidal acts, unsafe sex, substance abuse, spending, binge eating) It is a skills-based training program which offers effective coping techniques, and an emphasis on accepting who you are.

There are 4 main modules taught in group:

1. Core mindfulness Skills - focuses on mindfulness to increase awareness of emotions and behaviours

2. Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills - focuses on learning to communicate needs effectively and dealing with interpersonal conflict

3. Emotion Regulation Skills - understanding emotions and learning how to reduce emotional vulnerability and decrease emotional suffering

4. Distress Tolerance Skills - increase one's ability to tolerate and survive crisis, and accept life as it is in the moment

I have been in DBT for about a month and a half now. I am learning new things each week. The skills are not coming naturally to me but as it is a year long therapy program I am sure a lot of the skills will eventually become second nature.

This past class we were learning about radical acceptance. About accepting what reality is, accepting that everything has a cause, and that life is worth living. Accepting something does not mean it's ok you are just accepting that it has occurred.

I am having a really hard time with this concept. There are some things in my life that I am just not accepting nor do I believe I ever will. How do I accept that I was abused? How do I accept my dad's death? I am hoping as we progress through DBT that I will become better able to accept this concept and practice it in my life. For now though I just have too many questions and want too many answers.


Andrea said...

Big hugs to you Sandra - you are so brave!

One thing I find super helpful for accepting what is, is Byron Katie's work:


shah said...

Thanks so much for sharing this with the Monday Madness mental health community today! ITs really insightful to hear about this therapy and its core values. I know from just looking at it that they are skills we could probably all benefit from, as mental illness often reduces such behavioral abilities. I certainly recognized them in myself while reading.

I do hope it will lead you to a happier and more fruitful life, but for now, take it step by step and take in each session like and mouthful of cake. Savour it and don't look for the next mouthful until the first goes down.

Hugs to you Sandra. X

Elizabeth Young said...

Thanks for sharing here about the course you are doing Sandra, it sounds very helpful. Did you access this through the Canadian Mental Health Association? I know one person in particular that could really benefit from it. Sending a big hug your way today Sandra, Elizabeth.

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