DBT


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All the necessary dates we’ve been missing for this move are in.

Dad is out this coming Monday.  June 11, to be exact.

We close June 29th.  We have to be 100% out of our current apartment July 4th.

We were hoping to have the summer to move slowly but it isn’t going to happen that way.

This makes things more stressful but it’ll happen.  We do just want to get it over with, after all.

 

I lose internet at some point between the 15th and the 4th.  We are disconnecting here and being sure we are 100% square with the bill then reconnecting at the new place.  I’ll let you know, closer to the point I actually lose it, the exact day it goes down.

 

As for the DBT series I’m planning.  I don’t think starting it this Tuesday will work.  First, long gap of space I won’t have internet to work on it.  I can type them all now and schedule them out, but right now I need to focus on packing.  There is a lot of crap to pack that needed to wait until we had confirmed dates.

 

So here is to the beginning of one of the most stressful months of recent times.  Bare with me and stick around.  Hopefully I’ll come out the other end happier and with a kick-ass series on DBT to premier!

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Part of me wants to go through a full series of DBT.  Not because I’m in crisis mode, but because I think a skills refresher will help me cope with and respond to the boys’ behavior better.  Things remaining as they are could throw me into crisis mode.  Easily.

Most of me knows that finding a DBT class that fits to my work schedule, especially if I pick up full-time status, won’t be easy.

So while I am going to make some phone calls to see what all my local options are, I’m going to self DBT as well.

I figure I have been through the class enough times that I do know it fairly well.  In in my current rational mind, I should be able to go through each lesson on my own and brush up.  That is basically what this is.  I’ve taken the classes, now I just need to review my notes for the big test this week, so-to-speak.

I figure, while I’m at it, and to keep me on task, I will finish a task I started forever ago.  At one point I was reviewing and semi-teaching each class here on my blog, one blog post at a time as I went through DBT in the real world.  And I never finished it.  Life was crazy, I was a mess, and I didn’t have the oomph to follow through.  So, I should get on that.  It’s well overdue.

I think I’m going to instill DBT Tuesday for awhile.  I’ll go back and view the old posts and either pick up where I left up, or redo them.  Probably redo.  Since this is just as much for me, as it is for you, it won’t kill me to do this right by starting from lesson one.

So if all goes as planned, you can expect your first DBT lesson this coming Tuesday.  The nice thing is, since I have mastered scheduling posts in advance, I can write them way ahead even, as time permits, instead of cranking them out on the spot.

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I would argue that cost is gas money, while some might argue it’s my soul.

Buddhism keeps popping up in my life.  I’ll read something and go, “Wow!  I could belive in and/or follow that!” I’ll take a silly quiz and it will tell me it’s the best suited religion.  The first highly noted incident of “WOWZERS!” was in reading Siddhārtha by Herman Hesse. It just sounded so simply obvious.  So over the years I kept meaning to do some research.  But it never happened.

Well a week ago, I decided it was time.  I wanted to at least see what my temple options were in my area so I could go and learn more in person.  Which led me to a problem.  What sect?  It hadn’t really dawned on me that like Christianity there would be different paths.

So, I did some reading.  My first thoughts where that I wanted to follow the path of Gautama Buddha which is a lot easier than I hoped. To put it so it’s easier understood, it’s like saying you want to follow a Christian sect that follows Jesus.  Sort of.  The point: big figure.  There are many Buddahs through history, but he was an important one.  So that still left me open with many options.  After viewing this chart, I decided Theravada was the one that felt most right.  I liked that “Theravada means “The Way of the Elders” in Pali, reflecting the Theravadins’ belief that they most closely follow the original beliefs and practices of the Buddha and the early monastic Elders.” It was after all the original practices that peeked my interest.  Should I do some soul searching there and it not hit me as right, I’ll try Zen or another Mahayana subdivision next.

Ok, so realistically, will I become Buddhist?  I’m not sure.  It’s always peeked my interest as the possible answer to things.  It would also be a healthy means of achieving the calm I’ve always searched for.  But at the same time, I’m not one for organization and rules when it comes to spirituality so I might continue to have a problem with that.  Either way, I could at least see the teachings being used as everyday life skills not unlike that of DBT.  Basic meditation is healthy for everyone no matter the walk of life an belief system.  And well, I’ve never been able to properly meditate because I always panic I’m doing it wrong.  I end more stressed than I was when I began, even when guided through it.  Really, it kind of defeats the purpose.  So, even if I don’t end this quest with a belief system that guides me through life, maybe I’ll end it with the ability to at least meditate with out the need of an Ativan.  That would be something at least.

Oh, and as for my soul?  I can’t seem to be bothered to worry about it.  If the peaceful ways of the Buddhist monks and followers lead to damnation, then maybe that what I want anyway.  Sorry, but that’s how I see it!

Now I just need to find a temple near enough that follows the sect I’m after.  And a group that meets in the basement of a local church doesn’t cut it.

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Taking Hold of the Mind: “How” Skills

Non judgmentally

  • See but don’t evaluate. Take a nonjudgmental stance. Just the facts. Focus on the “what” not the “good” or “bad”, the “terrible” or “wonderful”, the “should” or “should not”.
  • Unglue your opinions from the facts, from the “who, what ,where and when”.
  • Accept each moment, each event as a blanket spread out on the lawn accepts both the rain and the sun, and each leaf that falls upon it.
  • Acknowledge the helpful, the wholesome, but don’t judge it. Acknowledge the harmful, the unwholesome,but don’t judge it.
  • When you find yourself judging, don’t judge your judging.

One-Mindfully

  • Do one thing at a time. When you are eating, eat. When you are walking, walk. When you are bathing, bathe. When you are working, work. When you are in a group, or a conversation, focus your attention on the very moment you are in with the other person. Do each things with all your attention.
  • If other actions, or other thoughts, or strong feelings distract you, let go of the distractions and go back to what you were doing.
  • Concentrate your mind. If you find you are doing two things at once, stop and go back to one thing at a time.

Effectively

  • Focus on what works. Do what needs to be done in each situation. Stay away from “:fair” and “unfair”, “right” and “wrong”, “should” and “should not”.
  • Play by the rules. Don’t “cut off your nose to spite your face”.
  • Act as skillfully as you can, meeting the needs of the situation you are in. Not the situation you wish you were in; not the one that is just; not the one that is more comfortable; not the one that…
  • Keep an eye on your objectives in the situation and do what is necessary to achieve them. Let go of vengeance, useless anger, and righteousness that hurts you doesn’t work.

Judging: Any labeling or evaluating of something as good or bad, valuable or not, as worthwhile or worthless. The essence of it is the valuing of things as more or less “good” or “bad”. Thinking of terms as “good” or “bad” can be harmful, may be an example of “all or nothing thinking”, and ignores that things and people have some “good” parts and some “bad” parts. It also is no necessary. An important mindfullness skill is not judging things in this manner, but to instead describe the consequences of what a person does. For example, “Your behavior is terrible” (judgmental) verses “your behavior is hurting me” (noticing consequences).

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Types of Cognitice (Thinking) Distortions

  1. All or nothing thinhking – You see things in black-and-white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.
  2. Overgeneralization – You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
  3. Magnifying the negative – You exaggerate the importance of a negative thins (such as your goof-up), or you pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire pitcher of water.
  4. Minimizing the positive – You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences. Or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities).
  5. Jumping to conclusions – You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion. There are two types. Mind reading is when you arbitrarily conclude that someon is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out. Fortune teller error is when you anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact.
  6. Should statements – You try to motivate yourself with “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”, as if you had been whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct “should” statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment. It is important to note that this isn’t talking able basic “shoulds” like “I should brush my teeth”. This is instead talking about taking “shoulds” to the extreme.
  7. Labeling and mislabeling i This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself, such as “I’m a loser”. When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him or her like “s/he’s a louse”. Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.
  8. Personalization – You see yourslef as the cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.
  9. Emotional Reasoning – “Because I feel it, it must be true.” without any other supporting evidence.
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Emotional Mind – Thinking is impaired, thinking distortions are common, distances from others, impaired decisions

Wise Mind – Ideal for relationships and decision making. It’s half way in between emotional and reasonable mind.

Reasonable Mind – Impaired decisions and distances from others

To differentiate a feeling from a thought” Only a feeling can fit in the sentence stem “I’m ________”.

Many people think that an activating event causes an emotional consequence, like this:
Activating event: phone rings at 2 AM —-> Consequence: panic or anxiety

If this was true then the activating event would always cause panic or anxiety. However, someone who thinks the phone is a wrong number would likely feel irritation as opposed to panic or anxiety.

So, there is an important mediating factor that determines someone’s emotional consequence, which is that person’s belief (or thought) about the event, like this:

Activating event: Phone rings at 2 AM –> Belief: Somebody’s hurt –> Consequence: Anxiety/Panic
Activating event: Phone rings at 2 AM –> Belief: Wrong Number –> Consequence: Irritation

Sometimes our thoughts can be distorted or even downright false and the more we are in our emotional mind, the more likely that our thoughts can be distorted. So, it is important to separate our feelings from o0ur thoughts to determine if there are any distortions or falsehoods, and if so, to reframe our thinking to more accurately reflect reality.

How to Reframe Your Thinking

1. Work backwards from your feelings to ID your thoughts. Ask yourself: What am I thinking that is contributing to the way I feel.

2. Examine your thoughts using a filter.

  1. What is the evidence for this thoguht?
  2. Is this always true?
  3. Is this thought helpful or harmful to me?
  4. Did I inherit this thinking from my family-of-origin, or is it something I chose

If your thinking does not pass this test, then it is probably distorted and you need to reframe your thought.

3. Reframe your thinking

  1. Use a positive statement and avoid negatives.
  2. Use the proper tense
  3. Use I statements whenever possible. For example, “I can”, “I am becoming”, “I am willing to”
  4. Use statement which you have some belief in. It is ok if you are not 100% convinced of the statement, but it needs to be a little bit believable to you.

4. Use these statements and talk back to the automatic voice that can sabotage you!

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There are 3 states of mind: reasonable mind, emotional mind, and wise mind.

Reasonable mind is intellectual, rational and logical. It attends to facts. It is planful in behavior and focused in attention. Reasonable mind is “cool” in it’s approach to problems.

Emotional mind is behavior and thinking controlled by emotions. Reasonable thinking is difficult and facts are amplified or distorted to match emotions.

Wise mind is the integration of emotional experiencing and logical analysis. It includes intuition. It is a very centered point.

Mindfulness skills are skills that help balance emotional mind and reasonable mind. It helps bring you to wise mind. There are three “what” skills: observing, describing, and participating. There are also three “how” skills: taking a nonjudgmental stance, focusing on one thing in the moment, and being effective. The goal is to develop a lifestyle of participating with awareness.

Observe – feelings, thoughts and behavior without trying to terminate them when painful or prolong them when plesent.

Describe – in words. Putting labels on behavior and events is essential to communication and self control. Many confuse emotions with precipitating events. Requires not to take thoughts and emotions literally; ie, feeling afriad does not mean that a situation is threatening.

Participate – without self consciousness. Examples of mindful verses mindless participation.

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