DBT Mindfulness Skills

DBT mindfulness exercises will enable most clients to achieve a modicum of emotional stability and may negate the need for them to seek assistance in powerful prescription drugs.

DBT Mindfulness Skills

The 4th and last of the Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) core skills is Mindfulness. Unless one cultivates DBT Mindfulness Skills it will be extremely difficult to alter deeply embedded patterns of thinking and acting. Mindfulness is also vital if one hopes to regulate their emotions, transcend crises and nurture and maintain productive relationships. Mindfulness is not a new concept. What is new is the way it is employed as part of DBT to treat those with Borderline Personality Disorder, as well as others having a hard time controlling their emotions.

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How Mindfulness Works

Mindfulness has been helping people maintain emotional equilibrium for thousands of years. The Buddha promoted mindfulness to his followers some 2,500 years ago, while at nearly the same time in Greece the Stoics were teaching their own brand of mindfulness that emphasized wisdom, justice, courage, and moderation.

Today mindfulness is used to help people struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder, drug addiction and other forms of destructive behaviour, by providing them with a way to detach from the intense emotions that drive so many of their actions. Gaining control of one’s feelings in such a way opens up an entire world of new possibilities and breaks the cycle of action and reaction.

Because the aim of DBT is to teach clients how to regulate their emotions, incorporating Mindfulness is a natural choice. When combined with the other tenets of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Mindfulness Skills can play a central role in helping the client cultivate new and satisfying relationships.

The Other Core Modules of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Mindfulness makes up one of the four core modules of DBT training, with the others being:

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Emotional Regulation

Exactly how emotions evolved and their original purpose are subjects of much debate and discussion. What matters now is that people with Borderline Personality Disorder (and others) learn how to regulate their emotions in order to fend off counterproductive outcomes. DBT Emotional Regulation Skills will help the client obtain a degree of control they may have thought was unattainable.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

It is our relationships that help us find our way in this world. Those who have difficulty building and sustaining beneficial relationships are at a disadvantage. The Interpersonal Effectiveness module raises awareness of the three different kinds of effectiveness at play in almost every human interaction: Objective Effectiveness, Self-Respect Effectiveness and Relationship Effectiveness, along the way teaching clients how to create boundaries, say “no” and ask for what they need.

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Distress Tolerance

Distress Tolerance Skills allow the client to, in essence, put a cap on an immediate emotional crisis and prevent it from spiralling out of control. Distress Tolerance also helps individuals accept situations they cannot change and Distress Tolerance Skills can help someone who is having difficulty dealing with conflicting emotions or desires. Reducing the number and sensitivity of a person’s emotional triggers is one outcome of successful Distress Tolerance instruction.

The Six Core Mindfulness Skills

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy recognises six core mindfulness skills. They are:

  1. Observation: Taking note of what is happening in the moment, including thoughts, feelings, breathing, pain, sounds, smells or anything else that is occurring in real-time.
  2. Description: Description entails putting into words those things that you have observed. There is no benefitting from observation without accurate and timely description.
  3. Participation: In this case, we mean fully participating in whatever activity you are currently engaged in, no matter how mundane. Practice focusing on the here and now and staying present.
  4. Non-judgmentalism: From a very early age we learn to categorise things as “good” or “bad”. DBT mindfulness skills enable the client to step back from this habit and observe without judgment or expectation.
  5. Single-mindedness: Practice doing one thing at a time. If you’re watching TV then watch TV. If you are driving then put the phone away and drive.
  6. Effectiveness: In this case, it means do things that work for you and stop beating your head against the wall trying to make other things work.

These skills will help the client develop their mindfulness which in turn will produce an array of benefits including emotional stability, stronger relationships and fewer rides on the emotional roller coaster.

Conclusion

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy teaches mindfulness skills as one of the four core components of its programme for improving emotional regulation. Without an active mindfulness practice, it can be extremely difficult for those dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder and other forms of destructive behaviour to reduce the chaos in their life and enjoy healthy stable relationships.

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DBT mindfulness exercises will enable most clients to achieve a modicum of emotional stability and may negate the need for them to seek assistance in powerful prescription drugs. Mindfulness will help emotionally volatile individuals to smooth out the peaks and valleys, to reduce the amount and severity of their judgmentalism and to get the most from the other DBT skills.

Tallie Samuels
Tallie Samuels
2021-08-10
I completed all four modules of the DBT course in 2020, and I can honestly say my life has been changed. I received so much support from Jason & Jerinda throughout my sessions, and I always felt like I was in a safe space with them. Throughout the course, I built up skills that I am still using today. I now find everyday life easier to manage; feel more in control of my emotional responses; am able to to tap into 'wise mind' rather than thinking in black & white; and I have a number of coping skills that make emotional crises easier to manage, when they do happen. This is the best course of therapy I have ever completed, and I have tried many different kinds in my lifetime. Thanks to the skills I learnt on the course, and to my own hard work integrating them into my life, I now live a life that feels worth living. Thank you.
Samantha Tran-Larkin
Samantha Tran-Larkin
2019-11-26
I have completed 2 modules of the DBT programme so far and I can honestly say it has honestly changed my life. I am not a stranger to therapy. 2 years ago I started general psychotherapy following the birth of my 4th child as I developed what I thought was PND. I also had a volatile relationship. Because of my personal circumstances, things progressively got worse. When I started the DBT programme I was lost, angry, hopeless and saw this as my last chance to solve some crisis of mine. 2 modules in, I feel refreshed and optimistic. I understand myself more and get boundaries. I am more productive and for the first time in a long while I can actually say I am happy. I will most likely revisit certain modules for a little refresh and will continue to use my invaluable DBT skills everyday. Thank you Jason.
Sevda Sipahi
Sevda Sipahi
2019-10-01
I was feeling insecure, anxious and depressed. I have joined the DBT sessions. I found it so helpful and effective. Before DBT, l wasn’t aware of the skills. Jason and Jurenda are such amazing people with their knowledge and positivity. They were so supportive. They taught me the skills and motivated me a lot to use the skills. Gradually l felt l improved myself quite a lot and definitely l feel much better now than before. It also improved my self confidence. I am more aware of myself now than before. I learnt to be in wise mind rather than being too emotional or too rational. I want to thank Jason and Jurenda for their good work, support and kindness.
Jess
Jess
2018-03-08
I've been working on my DBT skills with Jason for the past 9 months. In that time I have learnt enough repair damaged relationships with family, to begin to curb my unhealthy 'problem behaviours' and to start to build back up my self esteem and work on treating myself with kindness and compassion. I would thoroughly recommend DBT therapy, I think we all have a lot to learn from it. Without it and without Jason I wouldn't be where I am right now - I'm very grateful.
Samuel Perry
Samuel Perry
2018-02-10
Jason helped me through a very low period in my life, I was depressed and anxious, using DBT skills helped resolve my symptoms.
Daniel Fox
Daniel Fox
2018-01-30
Got the training last year here and I can clearly say I am much skilled in DBT. They have changed my skill and this course is really helpful. Thanks