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Distress Tolerance

08.02.06

We had a small group on Monday, so I wasn’t there either, but I’m writing up a thorough synopsis of Handout 1 in distress tolerance. I plan to have it published by tomorrow night. In the meantime, here’s last semester’s entry.

Opposite Action

07.30.06

In this week’s class, we continued our discussion of emotion regulation. Before we talk about changing your emotion, remember that emotions are normal reactions to stimuli. Once you’ve decided that you’d like to change the emotion you’re experiencing, you’ve got to figure out whether it’s justified; that is, is the emotion something that’s important to have to, say, keep you out of danger? For example, if you’re scared to go into a room because you know that there’s a snake in there and your life is in danger, you probably ought to leave that emotion alone.

If you’ve decided that your emotion isn’t keeping you out of danger or doing you any favors, one way to change it is by using the skill of Opposite Action.

Each type of emotion has a particular action urge associated with it. When you’re angry, you want to lash out.

  • Anger: Lash out
  • Sadness: Isolate
  • Fear: Run away
  • Shame/Guilt: Hide

The key to using this skill is to accurately identify the emotion you’re trying to change. If you’re unsure about what the emotion is, use Handout 4 to help you. After you’ve identified the emotion, work on doing what’s opposite to it.

  • Anger: Gently avoid or be kind.
  • Sadness: Be active and engage with people.
  • Fear (anxiety): Approach what’s making you scared.
  • Shame/Guilt: Do what’s making you feel shameful or guilty. Over and over.

Doing this is a form of exposure. We can become “habituated” to things that cause us emotion. That is, we can get used to those things that cause us a signficant degree of emotion. The more we expose ourselves to the emotion, the less emotion it will arouse.

Remember, that if you do opposite action, do it all the way. You can’t make a half-hearted attempt and expect it to work. Homework is the last homework sheet in the module. Focus on the opposite action portion of it.

Emotion Reg

07.23.06

In the emotion regulation section, we’re going to be learning how to: accept emotions as they are, reduce negative emotion and increase positive emotion. The concept of emotion as a normal reaction to situations (either external or internal) was discussed.

We covered a lot of ground in group, going over handouts 1 through 5. The highlights of these handouts are listed below:

  • Handout 5: The functions of emotion.
    1. To communicate to yourself or others. Emotions help your “mind” get its point across. When you experience emotion, your being sent a message.
    2. To motivate action. Emotions can help get you motived to make a change or do something!
    3. To self-validate. Emotions can help you make sense of your world.
  • Handout 3: The cycle of emotion. See handout 3. This handout describes the cycle through which emotion can be generated. And re-generated.
  • Handout 2: Some myths and challenges for emotion.
  • Handout 4: The major emotions, the things that can lead to them (e.g., prompting events, interpretations) and their consequences (e.g., secondary emotions, after-effects)

Homework for this week was to complete identification of the emotion you experience. From the prompting event through the after-effects. If you’re having trouble figuring out what emotion you’re experiencing, make use of the extensive descriptions on handout 4 to help you figure out what you’re feeling. Martha also passed out an additional handout (Biopsychosocial Model of Emotion) about emotion regulation.

Prioritizing Goals

06.22.06

We continued our discussion of Interpersonal Effectiveness by talking about our experiences dealing with others. Each member shared an experience during the previous week when they needed to act effectively. Each example was different and actually targeted a different objective, which made for a nice teaching point because the next part of the module was determining what your goals are and how to decide on what to do. (more…)

Intro to I.E.

06.17.06

In this week’s class, we reviewed mindfulness and mindful decision making. We talked about the “what’s” and “how’s” of practicing mindful activity. Each member reviewed his/her homework and we discussed the process of acting mindfully. We also had a discussion about the importance of not invalidating your stuggles with making a wise mind decision.

We then moved into talking about Interpersonal Effectiveness and the reasons why you’d want to target I.E. as a skill. Martha listed 4 reasons for wanting to be more interpersonally effective:

  1. To get your opinion taken seriously.
  2. To help you tolerate saying “no” to a request.
  3. To help you learn how to say “no.”
  4. To help you learn to ask for what you want or need.

We also talked about the differences between priorities (things that are important to you) and demands (things that are important to others).

For homework, we had page 129 in the handouts: thinking about situations where you wish you were more effective during the week. Jot a time or 2 down for discussion in the next class.

Remember that we don’t have group on July 3rd.

“What” and “How” Mindfulness

06.06.06

In our second group of the summer session, we continued the discussion of mindfulness from the previous week. Last week, Martha and the group talked about mindfulness and wise mind in particular. The homework review was short since we’ve still got a small group, but we talked about using wise mind to make decisions.
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