Monday, December 1, 2008

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

I am presently taking classes and a subsequent seminar in DBT. It is a psychological method based on Buddhist teachings which emphasizes mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance.

Mindfulness, in this sense is one becoming immediately aware of what it is that one is experiencing and this provides one with the choice on how to act, or in some cases, not to act on these feelings.

The interpersonal effectiveness module of DBT is about learning effective strategies for asking for what one needs, saying no, and coping with interpersonal conflict. The skills taught are intended to maximize the chances that a person's goals in a situation will be met, while at the same time not damaging either the relationship or the person's self esteem.

Emotion regulation includes identifying and labeling emotions, increasing positive emotional events, reducing vulnerability to emotional events, and taking opposite action.

Distress tolerance skills constitute a natural development from mindfulness skills. They have to do with the ability to accept, in a non-evaluative and non-judgemental fashion, both oneself and the current situation. Distress tolerance techniques are concerned with tolerating and surviving crisis and with accepting life as it is in this moment.

I have found these techniques and strategies to be highly effective in my work with my patients.

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