I’ve made it no secret that DBT saved my life. It was an intensive nine-month therapy program that built up my strengths in four key training areas called “modules.” I’d like to break these down into their component parts today.
1. Core Mindfulness Skills
As its name implies, this module lays the foundation for all the others. At the heart of DBT is the Zen Buddhist concept of mindfulness, or focusing your attention in a non-judgmental way. We do this by observing, describing, and participating in our lives.
2. Distress Tolerance
This critical group of skills allows us to weather crisis situations well. Techniques include distracting oneself, soothing via the five senses, and my personal challenge, radical acceptance.
3. Emotion Regulation
People who benefit from DBT often have strong and rapidly changing emotions. DBT helps to regulate them via skills like building positive experiences, attending to physical needs such as hunger, sleep, and exercise, and another tough task: practicing the opposite emotion to the one you’re experiencing.
4. Interpersonal Effectiveness
I didn’t think I really “needed” this module (haha, nothing like a little hubris), but I learned so much from its concepts. It includes sections on how to negotiate, stand up for yourself, and interact in a fair and kind manner when your emotions are running high.
I’ll go into more details about these modules in future Mental Health Mondays, so stay tuned!
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