One of my favorite therapeutic techniques is DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). I teach my clients how to use it and I practice it in my everyday life to help refocus when I become overwhelmed. DBT includes using mindfulness, coping tools, acceptance strategies, self-soothing practices, emotion regulation, and relationship effectiveness.
WITHIN DBT, THERE ARE 5 SKILL SETS
▪︎ Distress Tolerance
▪︎ Emotional Regulation
▪︎ Interpersonal Effectiveness
A FEW TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN INTEGRATING DBT INTO YOUR LIFE
▪︎ Keep a journal as you practice these skills. You don’t always have to write several paragraphs daily, you may find that a paragraph is enough. The key to effective journaling is consistency, so aim to journal everyday.
▪︎ Set aside time to practice skillful behaviors. Many people set great intentions to work on things, but don’t follow through with it. Pencil practicing skillful behaviors into your planner or calendar. It helps to treat it as a “to-do” list. Be patient as you practice, growth occurs over time.
▪︎ Reward yourself after you practiced your list of skills. Buy a coffee, put a little money aside for something fun or pampering, go on a walk, you decide! Research shows, that when people learn to self-reward, they accomplish more skills behavior than people who don’t.
▪︎ Find motivation. Finding your “why” makes it easier to follow through. Whatever you want to improve, whether it’s being a better parent, going to college, or becoming a more well-rounded athlete, write it down and refer to it often.
▪︎ “Crowd out” problem behaviors by adding skillful behaviors to practice. Don’t allow the problem behaviors to find a foot hold, you can crowd them out by engaging in skillful behavior practice.
▪︎ Sticking with it is important. Learning how to do something is a process. Ability comes from training and experience. If you become discouraged, remind yourself that it’s okay to feel that way, it happens to everyone. Refresh your mindset and remember your “why.” You will notice that the benefits that come from your skills will be self-reinforcing in time.