Emotions, emotions emotions. Many people have a love-hate relationship with their emotions especially, intense emotions. Are you someone who struggles with intense emotions or feels stuck in difficult situations? Well, DBT, or dialectical behavior therapy, might just be the tool you need to help you manage those emotions and behaviors. DBT is all about taking an active role in your own mental health and well-being. The framework emphasizes that we don’t cause all of our problems, but we are responsible for managing our reaction to those problems. And that’s where practical skills come in. DBT skills are usually taught in a DBT skills group but it can also be taught during 1 on 1 skills training with a therapist.
These skills are divided into several categories: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. They’re designed to help you stay present in the moment, cope with intense emotions, identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors, and communicate effectively with others.
Now, I know what you might be thinking. “Okay, that all sounds great, but how can I actually use these skills in my daily life?” Well, the first step is to identify situations where you tend to struggle with your emotions or behaviors. For example, if you get really anxious when you have to speak in public, you might try using a distress tolerance skill like deep breathing to help you cope with the situation. But don’t just wait for those difficult situations to arise. You can also practice these skills regularly, even when things go well. The goal of DBT skills is for the skills to be generalized! That means they are used regularly when problems arise. For example, you might try practicing mindfulness meditation every day to help you develop a habit of staying present in the moment.
It’s important to remember that DBT is a collaborative process between you and your therapist. They can help you identify which skills are most relevant to your specific situation, and they can provide guidance and support as you learn and practice those skills.
So, what are some of the benefits of using DBT skills? Well, for starters, you can develop a greater sense of control over your life. You can learn how to manage your emotions and behaviors in a healthy way, rather than feeling like they’re controlling you. You can also build healthier relationships with others by learning how to communicate effectively and assert your needs and boundaries.
In summary, DBT is a valuable tool for anyone who wants to take control of their mental health and well-being. By learning and practicing practical skills in mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness, you can develop a greater sense of control over your life and build healthier relationships with others. Remember, it’s important to be patient with yourself as you learn and practice these skills. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s okay if you make mistakes along the way. What’s important is that you’re taking an active role in your own mental health and well-being. And don’t forget, DBT isn’t just for people with a diagnosed mental illness. Anyone can benefit from learning these skills, regardless of their background or experiences. So if you’re someone who wants to feel more in control of your emotions and behaviors, or build stronger relationships with others, DBT might just be the tool you need. So why not give it a try? You might just be surprised at how much it can help!