I’ve spent a lot of time discussing emotion regulation skills with clients recently. It has me reflecting on the ways in which I use my skills of accumulating positives and building mastery, both presently and in the past.
I started off the year by pointing out I thought it was best to have aspirations instead of resolutions. I thought this because it felt like an easy way to be gentle on yourself and realize that accomplishments and success are personal and subjective.
It is mid-January and we are already well into a new year. It is at this point where the resolutions are not as attractive as they were a couple weeks ago. If this is true for you, it is completely human, and you are not alone.
One of the main assumptions in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is that we are all doing the best we can, AND also, we need to do better and try harder. This is acceptance and change. There is almost always questioning about this from clients, and rightfully so.
As a DBT therapist who leads three skills groups at Hartstein Psychological in addition to seeing individual clients, I have taught the Distress Tolerance ACCEPTS skills too many times to count throughout my career and have used them even more in my own life (they work!).
Life is filled with uncomfortable moments. These situations vary in intensity, from something less extreme—like noticing our phone battery is dying or sitting in traffic, to going through a breakup or losing a loved one—everyone experiences emotional discomfort at one point or another.
It’s important to be understanding of how your kids feel, even when you don’t get it. As parents, we have all been in the situation where we don’t understand why our child is losing it over something that seems so minor.
December, the last month of the calendar year, is often a month of reflection—a time when we think back on the past 11 months. Sometimes our thoughts become flooded with joyful and happy memories, while other times our hearts are filled with pain and sorrow.
Since the pandemic began, I’ve been practicing a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skill called "Improve the Moment" quite a bit. When we can’t change the world around us, we often get stuck in fear, frustration and negative thinking patterns rather than doing things that help us feel better.
Regardless of your political leanings, we can all agree that these are highly charged times. Opinions are varying and different and we aren’t always taking the time to listen to one another. In fact, we often just speak louder, thinking that will get the other person to listen. Spoiler alert: that doesn’t work.