DBT OC Blog
During the month of Mental Health Awareness in May 2019, BetterHelp will be donating $50 to one of 20 different mental health organizations on behalf of anyone with a website that is willing to publish original content on their website that discusses a mental health & wellness topic. We at DBTOC wanted to increase awareness of mental health and support one of these amazing organizations for all that they do! An important mental health concern today is the rise of suicide in the United States. Suicide is now a leading cause of death (CDC, 2018). Rates have increased significantly since 1999. Many problems can contribute to suicide including challenges with one’s mental health, relationships, or physical health, and job, money, legal, or housing stress.
I recently returned from a Mindfulness training on the outskirts of Zion National Park in southwestern Utah. Being surrounded each day by the craggy, monolithic peaks, aware of over 250 million years of history woven into the fabric of sandstone striations, a thought emerged that we are both fragile and warriors simultaneously.
“I thought having kids would be easier. I thought we’d have kids who would grow up, make friends, go to school, fall in love, get married and live their lives…you know? I thought they’d be happy. But it didn’t turn out that way.” And so goes the lament of every parent who raised children that didn’t turn out the way they thought they would. Whether their child is on drugs, flunked out of school, can’t keep a job, engages in high-risk, scary behaviors, tells the parent they hate them, takes money from mom and dad but seems to exhibit little personal responsibility, is disconnected from the family or just doesn’t seem to be growing up and leading their own life, parents today are more flustered by raising children than ever before.
My Daily Skimm reminded me that it is Stress Awareness Month. Skimm writers shared wonderful ways to manage burnout and even highlighted the benefits of meditation! In our fast-paced environments, it is very important to be mindful of ourselves, our needs and to better manage the stress we face. In our day-to-day lives, it is easy to disregard the “normal” stress we feel from our jobs or school, traffic, relationships, finances and more. We push through in “survival mode” until we feel burned out, exhausted and often resentful. DBT has an entire module called Distress Tolerance to better manage stress and tolerate painful events, urges, and emotions. Mindfulness is another module in DBT, which provides the foundation for all of the other DBT skills. Mindfulness creates awareness of ourselves and our environment around us and returns our focus to the present moment.
Mindfulness is the foundation of all of the DBT skills. As we practice mindfulness, we intentionally bring ourselves into the present moment and notice what is in the here-and-now. These skills are especially helpful to notice our emotions, sensations, thoughts and needs. Mindful eating can help reduce disordered eating and increase balanced, healthy practices. However, reducing disordered eating does not stop here. We must develop mindful habits around our eating behaviors as well. It is important to pay attention to our habits and our automatic response to internal cues and our environment.
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” – Carl Rogers In my DBT practice, I come across many couples who feel that they are in joyless and unfulfilling marriages. Conversations in my office may revolve around complaints about lack of intimacy, ‘falling out of love’; not enough change, poor understanding of the others’ needs, and/or the other doing deliberate acts to cause marital conflict and continued unhappiness. The joy of thinking that they have found ‘The One’ is replaced by questions like, “What was I thinking?”, “I should have known better” and “Why did I marry you?”.
Posted by Dr. Michele Lob PsyD., MFT, CEDS in DBT Skills
As 2018 comes to a close, I look back on the passed year with its challenges, triumphs, disappointments, and celebrations, and feel called to write about one of my most favorite DBT skills - that of Radical Acceptance. Radical Acceptance does not allow for regret or self-flagellation. It allows for complete and utter acceptance that what has gone has gone, what is done, is done, what is, is! Radical Acceptance allows for an internal place in both mind and body to be completely in acceptance of reality.
If I had a dime for every time I heard a newscaster talk about mass shootings and mental illness, especially in news-in-review roundups, I would be rich. Enough already. Only 4% of those with mental illness become violent, which is the same rate[namimc.org] as those who are mentally sound. The bigger problem with mental illness is that we treat those who are sick as if they are outcasts and potential mass killers, which only makes the problem worse.
Before it Happens Again Part I: How To Address Mass Shootings In 2019 and Beyond Using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – Radical Acceptance
During a check-in and de-briefing with my Pepperdine University students about the recent violent shooting in Thousand Oaks, CA one Master’s level student glibly remarked, “It’s just going to happen again. I’m not even surprised by it anymore, it’s sad to say but I think it’s just trending.” While I didn’t like his words, I knew he was right... in all the wrong, worst ways.