I followed a link to another link to another one until I landed on this link about What is DBT? http://behavioraltech.org/resources/whatisdbt.cfm

Reading about DBT I realized that this is part of what my counselor did with me.  My counselor used a variety of methods depending on what I seemed to respond to.  He learned that some of the techniques that worked with some of his clients went straight over my head.  I remember one day he was trying to explain something to me.  I sat back and looked at him oddly then stated, “Do you mean to say that people actually do that?”  It was one of the many times I would say a pained expression flit across his face before he would put is counselor face back on and try again.

The part that caught my attention was this paragraph.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) ….

What does “dialectical” mean?

The term “dialectical” means a synthesis or integration of opposites. The primary dialectic within DBT is between the seemingly opposite strategies of acceptance and change. For example, DBT therapists accept clients as they are while also acknowledging that they need to change in order to reach their goals. In addition, all of the skills and strategies taught in DBT are balanced in terms of acceptance and change. For example, the four skills modules include two sets of acceptance-oriented skills (mindfulness and distress tolerance) and two sets of change-oriented skills (emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness).

My counselor accepted me where I was yet explained that I needed to change and set about teaching me how to change.  He always, and I mean always, reminded me that I was doing the work he was coaching me through what I needed to do.  Ask any athlete about how important it is to have a coach.  It makes a huge difference.  I changed everything about how I function.  He kept me on task…slogging through the hard parts.  Listened to me whine and offered cheese to go with my whine.  I quickly learned that complaining with no intention of changing is whining.  Describing a problem and deciding on a plan of action is moving forward.  The more I read about DBT the more I think that is a huge part of what he used but not all.  He didn’t think it was helpful for me to only give me a few tools when a whole arsenal is available.  I don’t think I have mastered all of the tools available to me but I have so many more choices on how to approach problems and relationships.


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