Skills

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. 
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.
There are a lot of unknowns right now. Will you go back to work or school? Will you be able to travel to see your relatives? Is it safe to see “that friend” or go to “that appointment”? Our bodies and brains tend to do one of two things—we either push the feelings of anxiety and fear away, or we obsess and overthink about the possible outcomes.
I’ve been thinking a lot about dialectics during this Pandemic. If you are new to Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), a dialectic is defined in DBT as two truths that coexist, even if they seem opposite. The dialectic that strikes me the most is the truth that we are seemingly living in very primitive times with a virus that has no known cure, even though we are so technologically advanced.
Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed by an emotion and as a result, acted on that emotion, only to regret it later? I know I have. We’ve all experienced a moment when we've responded with an emotionally-charged text or email, later wishing we had never pressed send.
When your child is struggling with intense emotions, it can be challenging to help them feel calm and in control. Intense emotions often escalate quickly, making it difficult to use problem-solving skills during a challenging situation. Parents, and individuals working with children, often forget that the developing mind doesn’t process as quickly as an adult brain, thus making it hard to self-soothe and regulate strong feelings.
Everyone procrastinates. Whether it be homework assignments, work tasks, cleaning your room or apartment, running an errand, washing the dishes or even just getting into bed, at one time or another, we have all said to ourselves "I can do it later." While procrastination may be harmless at times, the habit of pushing things off can also have detrimental consequences. Lack of productivity can elicit feelings of guilt and inadequacy. It can contribute to poor performance at school or at work. We can even forget about a task all together if we procrastinate long enough.
Radical acceptance is a skill we teach in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) that aims to help you move from anger and pain to acceptance of the realities of life. It is the key to feeling more in control of your emotions. We all face situations in life that interfere with our mental health and overall happiness and learning how to radically accept them can make a profound difference in your life.