Self Criticism or Self Compassion

Posted by Kathy Purdy MFTI in Benefits of DBT


An important aspect of Dialectical Behavior Therapy is recognizing self-criticism and judgments and cultivating self-compassion.  This is something most of our patients work on every day.  Recently, an article in the Huffington Post made a convincing case for why self-compassion is more effective and helpful than self-criticism.

Additionally, Dr. Kristin Neff, who is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on self-compassion, speaks about three core components of self-compassion.  I hope this article and YouTube video help to motivate us all to question how effective our own self-criticism has been and to consider including more self-compassion into our lives.  

Don’t Wreck Your Marriage!

Posted by Cindy Finch, LCSW in Family Therapy


Dear Reader,

If you want to gain valuable tools to grow a strong marriage, save a failing one, and possibly avoid a divorce, then read on as I share what couples can do to make or break their relationships...

Marriage Wrecker

Don’t Grow Up Emotionally

If you’re not going to grow up, you will wreck your marriage. In a therapy session, if one partner says, “I feel like I have an extra child because I am married to this person,” it is likely that this partner has failed to grow up emotionally. You’d be surprised to know how many highly successful adults in the business and professional world are actually emotional infants. Emotionally immature people:

  • Look for others to take care of them
  • Take disagreements personally
  • Are only happy when things go their way
  • Quickly unravel when disappointment, stress, or tragedy enter the picture

Peace is a Choice

Posted by Dana Conley, M.A., C.Ht. in Benefits of DBT


"Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of these things and still be calm in your heart." (Unknown)

The unknown individual, to whom this quote is attributed, had a great perspective about what "please" means. I imagine they knew how to get to that place of peace within them and what it meant to be calm in their heart.

What does it mean to be calm in your heart? How do you get to that place within you amidst the noise, trouble, and hard work around you?

To me, being calm in my heart is an experience of INNER PEACE. When I am calm in my heart, I feel peaceful. It also means to be OK with what is... That means being OK with what is happening around me, what is happening to me, and what is happening within me – and doing so without judging anything as bad or wrong, noisy or hard.


Making Sense of Borderline Personality Disorder

Posted by Dr. Michele Lob PsyD., MFT, CEDS in Benefits of DBT

After the developer of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Dr. Marsha Linehan, acknowledged her own struggle with BPD in an article in the New York Times in 2011, she brought greater attention and understanding to what is endured by people who have this diagnosis.  When a patient is challenging and resistant to therapists’ suggestions, they are often labeled as having BPD. This stigma teaches a person to think of themselves as a hopeless victim, with inescapable character traits that make them feel angry, unlovable, empty, and helpless.

I personally don’t like the diagnosis of BPD because of the negative connotation the label suggests.  Instead, I prefer to view this as a struggle with emotion regulation, hypersensitivity, and lack of skillfulness in dealing with inner and outer personal struggles.  As Linehan argues, a more accurate name for this condition is “emotion dysregulation disorder.” 

Meditation Changes the Brain’s Response to Stress

Posted by Dr. Michele Lob PsyD., MFT, CEDS in Benefits of DBT


High levels of chronic stress affect every system in our bodies. However, studies show that mindfulness practices help to break this harmful cycle!  New research from Carnegie Mellon University (February 2016) provides a window into the brain changes that links mindfulness meditation training with the health of stressed adults.

According to the World Health Organization, stress in the workplace costs American business approximately $300 billion per year largely in the form of higher health care costs, employee absences, and reduced productivity.  There is a substantive toll that psychological stress-related disease places on individuals and families! 

Practicing DBT “WHAT” Skills

Posted by Jennifer Plisko LCSW DBT Center of Orange County in Benefits of DBT


"In today's ru­­­­­sh, we all think too much-seek too much-want too much-and forget about the joy of being."

Eckhart Tolle

Dialectical Behavior Therapy encourages you to “stay in the present moment” with awareness of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors – without Judgment!  This concept is foundational to Mindfulness, one of the DBT principles we teach.  The Mindfulness module incorporates the “What” skill of Observe, Describe, and Participate.  Mindfulness encourages you to connect with yourself, others, and the world around you in a new way.  It is easy to disconnect from ourselves and the present moment and to become consumed by an unpredictable world filled with anxiety, material distractions, work and social demands, and of course technology.  The truth is, we disconnect from ourselves and from the present moment when we become lost in an unfocused world of rampant thoughts, intense emotions, and physical discomfort.


Traveling Through the Darkness

Posted by Keren Clark, LMFT in Benefits of DBT

In his compelling memoire of his own battle with depression, William Styron – author of many well-known books, including Sophie’s Choice – writes, “The madness of depression is, generally speaking, the antithesis of violence. It is a storm indeed, but a storm of murk. Soon evident are the slowed-down responses, near paralysis, psychic energy throttled back close to zero. Ultimately, the body is affected and feels sapped, drained.”


Forming Effective Behavior Change

Posted by Dr. Michele Lob PsyD., MFT, CEDS in Benefits of DBT


“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”


Some say that it takes 21 days to form a new behavior.  At the DBT Center of Orange County our team believes that learning how to be effective and change maladaptive behaviors depends first and foremost on building awareness on a platform of patience and self-compassion.

If you want to set your expectations appropriately, the truth is that it will probably take you anywhere from two months to eight months to build a new behavior into your life — forget the 21-day formula!  This is a set-up for disappointment and self-flagellation.


7 Mindful Eating Tips

Posted by DBT Center of Orange County in Mindfulness


National Eating Disorders Awareness week is February 21-27. The goal is to increase attention and provide information to the public about eating disorders. By increasing our awareness, we can intervene sooner and improve the likelihood of recovery for millions of people suffering. For more information about events in your area please visit 

Loving Kindness

Posted by Erin Keller in Mindfulness


As we start a New Year, the word ‘resolution’ comes up more often than not whether it’s starting a new diet, making the bed regularly, or implementing an exercise routine in one’s daily life. When I sat down to write my own resolutions for the 2016 year, I intentionally wanted to think from a DBT perspective. One of the key concepts in DBT is that of Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in the present moment.   I have recently taken up yoga and appreciate the meditative state it provides me whether done in the morning to calmly start my day or done in the evening to wind down the day’s events. With wanting to continue this practice on a regular basis in the New Year as one of my resolutions, I was reminded of the DBT skill, ‘Loving Kindness Meditation.’