How DBTOC Staff Are Coping with DBT Skills during COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted by Dr. Michele Lob PsyD., MFT, CEDS in Awareness

“I’ve been spending a lot of time finding new positives to accumulate. There’s a new Animal Crossing game out, and I’m learning a lot about virtual versions of board games! They double as a great distract and an opportunity to connect with friends I can’t see right now. My husband and I are both spending lots of time with our kitties and working through our TV backlog. Distract (specifically with activities and pushing away), radical acceptance, IMPROVE (by encouragement and cheerleading) and STOP are probably the other skills I’m using the most!”

– Kati McCormick, DBT Program Clinician and Skills Facilitator

“Practicing gratitude is even more important in order to build a life worth living in the midst of a pandemic. I do this by going on ‘gratitude hunts’ with my pup. She loves showing me her excitement over new flowers and fresh smells. She notices much more than I do. It teaches me to be grateful for things I would otherwise overlook on a daily basis and to utilize my observe skills.”

– Catherine Mann, Patient Services Representative

Susan Pace, Director of Operations

stays amused by the antics of her pets Turbo and Emma.

Kathy Purdy, DBT Program Clinician and Skills Facilitator

continues to use skills to manage through this difficult time. “I really love Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. This is a picture of my view from my yoga mat … Super easy to follow her on my laptop but I’ve used my phone before as well. She recently did a “Home” series that builds a yoga practice in 30 days. It’s fabulous and full of guidance for a mindful practice!”

“I’ve been taking long mindful walks with my dog, Frank, and when I feel anxiety rising or pent-up stress in my body I will go to my stairwell and do the five flights of stairs 2 or 3 times. It’s a great way to practice the TIP skill and works like a charm.”

– Kathy Purdy, DBT Program Clinician and Skills Facilitator

“I’ve been starting each day by sending out daily gratitudes to my friends and family, and trying to stick to routine as best I can. I have been trying to be very mindful of my PLEASE skills, and not let my self-care slip. The online workouts and yoga classes have been amazing, and I’m finding that I’m trying out classes I haven’t done before. I’ve also been going on a lot more walks, and exploring my neighborhood, with my boyfriend and our dog, Jack. Luckily, Jack always has more energy for another walk, and the cold air is a great TIPP skill. Self- soothe has been really helpful, and of course mindful snuggles with my cat, Zander. I think the most important part though has been connection with others. I’ve been using Zoom and FaceTime to talk with my friends and family that I can’t see right now. Even though we are all physically separated, we are still finding a way to be together.”

– Dr. Sarah Lyndon, Clinical Director

Nora Josephson, Clinical Operations Director

loves to break up her day with pleasant events including walks with the family or at-home yoga sessions. She also uses the self-soothe skill with luxurious bubble baths and lighting candles. Another extremely helpful skill is self-compassion. It is important to show ourselves understanding, allow for human mistakes and be kind to ourselves during these challenging and unpredictable times.

“I’m using a lot of Turning the Mind toward Willingness and Radical Acceptance as well as Opposite Action. For instance, today I was experiencing a lot of willfulness around just about everything I needed to do (taxes, meditation practice, etc). I definitely used Observe and Describe to notice my willful attitude and then proceeded to Turn my Mind toward willingness, engage opposite action, and move toward those things I had an urge to avoid. I got more done on my taxes and had an excellent meditation session.”

-Keren Clark, Clinical Supervisor

Nicole Messuri, DBT Program Clinician and Skills Facilitator has been utilizing her DBT skills every chance she gets! Here are a few of her favorites:

1. ABC PLEASE Skills- Accumulating positives by talking and staying connected to friends and family; Building mastery with workouts and tennis; Coping Ahead- preparing myself mentally for a long haul with this; Balancing exercise-daily workouts indoors and/or outdoors; Balanced eating- eating super healthy and including superfoods and vitamins (dark leafy greens/greens powder apple cider vinegar, garlic, probiotics, lemon), Balanced sleep-getting 8 hours of sleep, going to bed around the same time and waking up around the same time daily.

2. Distress Tolerance: Self-Soothe- hot tea, lighting candles, walks, comfy clothes, music and nature sounds, Distract- with movies and Netflix and spending time with those that are close to me; Improve- comparisons (remembering those that are less fortunate or ill or on the front lines of the virus).

3. Checking the Facts by watching and reading trustful sources of news.

4. Radical Acceptance – “It is what it is.”

5. Effectiveness – order food or necessary items from Uber Eats and Amazon; use Facetime to stay connected with others and telehealth sessions for work.

6. Mindfulness of Current Emotion – paying attention to my own emotions then self-validating and using self-compassion.

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