Disclaimer: I’m not a mental health professional and any information I post here is second hand. Basically, I can barely keep my life together, if you’re expecting complete accuracy and professionalism you’re in the wrong place. K, thx.
This is the question my new therapist posed to me during our first meeting. Through my own studies I felt like I had a basic knowledge of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy but I’ve barely scratched the surface. I mean, obviously; the course I’ve signed up to requires 3.5 hours face-to-face each week for six months, then there’s homework and phone counselling. The several hours I’ve spent with a textbook from Book Depository doesn’t really cut it.
As my blog will likely shift towards my progress throughout this program when group sessions start up in a couple of weeks I felt like it would be a good idea for me to write up a quick breakdown about what the DBT course I’ve signed up for looks like.
DBT, or Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, is the recommended treatment for those who suffer from BPD but is also thought to be helpful for anyone else who struggles with their emotions. In addition to mindfulness, which will be explored intermittently throughout the duration of the program, there are three core modules; emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness and distress tolerance.
The modules are fairly self-explanatory… at least this is my simplified understanding of them (see disclaimer, my words are not gospel and I’m not a professional). Emotion regulation covers the day-to-day stuff, how to cope with your emotions and prevent them from ruling your life. Interpersonal effectiveness can pretty much be described as “don’t be a dick” while effectively communicating your own needs; you know, the learning to say “no” sort of stuff that I can be kind of shitty at. Distress tolerance is for when the big curveballs hit; how to keep your head in a crisis.
I’ve had a few sessions with my new therapist who seems pretty good. Sessions feel more formalised than I’m used to (she has a whiteboard and everything) but I guess that’s because they are; there’s a clear program with clear direction. While it’s adjustment I feel really positive about it.
As part of the program I’ll even have homework; a new skill each week to put into practice. Pretty sure adults aren’t meant to be excited about homework but I am… maybe it’s a teacher thing? As it stands I intend to reflect on these skills on my blog regularly.
Feel free to get in touch if you want to discuss DBT (again, not a professional) but I hope this has been an adequate introduction to the content.