DBT can be an effective way to treat PTSD, anxiety, stress, depression, and even personality disorders. But, many of the skills that are taught within DBT treatment can actually apply to anyone and they can benefit from these skills in their daily lives. In this piece, we give you some ways you can become far more engaged, more regulated emotionally, and more present in your life by practice some of the techniques used in DBT.
Don’t Confuse CBT with DBT
It’s very important that one doesn’t confuse CBT with DBT. DBT has four main components that are unique to this therapy as listed below:
- Individual Therapy – This is weekly therapy with a therapist who specializes in DBT. One will benefit from this because they learn skills that will be reinforced when they are involved in DBT Skills group therapy.
- Skills Group – This is also on a weekly basis where patients meet together in a group. DBT group is run more like school and students in a classroom. Here those who participate will be taught skills that use a more Socratic type of method and then will be assigned some homework that will be reviewed the next week during DBT group.
- Phone Coaching – This allows patients to call the therapist and talk on the phone when they feel they are suffering a crisis in order to get the help they may need in applying their skills they’ve been taught in their individual and group therapy sessions.
- Consultation Team – This is for all therapists who are practicing and teaching DBT. They will meet once a week to get support in practicing any difficult and intense treatments while maintaining their competency.
Four Skills Taught That One Can Benefit From
The four important skills one is taught and can benefit from in DBT are listed below:
- Mindfulness is where one is taught to develop the awareness of the moment and without any attachment or judgment. It does it in such a way that lets you be much more aware. It also teaches you to manage your emotions, feelings, and thoughts much more effectively.
- Emotional regulation is a skill one can benefit from by improving one’s awareness of the causes and the consequences of one’s emotions. This skill helps a person learn how to pick and manage these emotions in order to improve their effectiveness in the way they manage the emotions they are experiencing.
- Distress tolerance is learning how to tolerate instead of avoiding or trying to change any extreme or emotions that are disturbing.
- Interpersonal relationship effectiveness is a skill that helps you to improve the management of your relationship issues and relationships overall.
Here are just a few easy ways in which you can use some of the aspects of the above-mentioned DBT skills on a daily basis and benefit at the same time.
Turn Your Music Off When Driving
Most people love to enjoy their favorite music when driving down the road, especially on their way to work. However, this actually is a distraction that may seem fun can also set you up to actually miss something that could be very important, or could cause you to be off guard in a situation. By listening to loud music on the way can keep you from being able to take in everything around you and being mindful of everything that could be happening all around you.
What this means is if you’re not completely aware of what is happening all around you, you more than likely won’t be able to deal effectively with something that might pop up suddenly. By turning off the music you can be mindful and will benefit from your ability to become more aware of what’s happening all around you.
Make it a Practice to Name Emotions in Your Daily Conversations
We all have had the experience of being upset yet not really sure of why we’re upset. The worst thing about this is if you don’t know why you are upset about something you won’t be able to do anything about it. The benefit of naming your emotions will enable you to improve your ability to become a lot more aware of your emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. This awareness will empower you to be able to manage your emotions much more effectively. Even though this may sound difficult, it really isn’t. If you are able to name the emotions you are experiencing it will always be a great place for you to start, especially when it comes to conversations. For instance, if you are happy about something, express it to the person that is making you feel happy. If you are irritated by something someone has done, it’s alright to let them know what it was they did that irritated you.
Make Sure to Listen to Who You’re Talking To
Sure, that sounds pretty easy, right? However, how often do you find yourself already thinking about what you’re going to say back to them before they are even done with what they’re saying? All of us are guilty of this bad habit. Often this is because the conversation is already heated or we’re just anxious about what’s being said. No matter what, it’s not going to end well. Usually, you will say something you end up regretting.
There is no law that says you must agree with what someone is saying nor do you have to completely change your feelings about it. However, truly listening to what they are saying is going to improve your odds of actually accomplishing goals in dealing with the person. When you actually listen to a person it will increase the likelihood the person you’re talking to is going to help them feel like they are actually being heard. By listening to someone you both benefit and it also increases your effectiveness when you finally respond to what they’ve been talking about. Because it gives your choice is going to be based on a much more informed assessment.
Finally, the message one gets from DBT is consistent and clear. It is very important for all of us to make sure to take ownership over our lives. It also teaches us that we all have the inherent ability to effect change in our lives. DBT teaches a person to stop and ask if what they are about to say or do is actually worth it. It teaches people to question whether or not their reaction is going to help the situation or if it is going to make things better. In the end, the most common answer to that question is “No.”