Re-Thinking Self-Defeating Behavior

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), which is drawn from the roots of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, can be used for a variety of mental health issues, some more severe than others. This is typically done in a professional licensed counselor/therapist’s office and I would recommend before trying the example below that you talk it over with a professional. Below, you will be given a problem behavior and one way that DBT can be used. This is to give you a flavor of what DBT is.

I barely woke up this morning, before I nestled down into my spongy soft pillow and found myself fast asleep and re-awoke two hours later. By this time I lost half of the morning, but I convinced myself that I was so tired and needed to sleep. How many of us have had these moments, especially when we have had plans to do something? I cannot tell you how many times I have done this. How do we get out of this rut or pattern we have gotten ourselves into?

There are some things I learned along the way using DBT with my clients. Some might say: if I only had the will power to get myself going in the morning. Others may come up with a cadre of excuses like I did. We have to look deeper inside ourselves to what DBT calls the Wise Mind. Here we have to be aware of all our senses and make note of them such as asking: “What is going around me?” “What am I aware of?” What do I hear, feel, smell, feel, or taste?” “What is going on internally?” “What am I thinking about?” “What are my assumptions-are they true or false?” Taking all of this in, we look at the crux of what is keeping us in bed. “Is it a black and white statement-nobody cares, it does not matter, or I am doing it all for me.” “Are you doing it out of anger-I can do what I want, nobody can tell me what to do, or I do not care?” You need to know what stance you are coming from. Really look at these questions and get to the heart of what is keeping you from doing what you want to do.

We take the Wise Mind and think these questions through to their logical conclusion. “What is the first thing you think of?” If you are honest with yourself, you will have the answer. You may be asking yourself: now that we know the answer, what do we do to change our pattern of behavior-oversleeping? With our wise mind we think of more positive reasons why we want to get up. We get rid of should have, would have, and could have. We may make a list of Pros and Cons to getting up early in the morning. Which one out ways the other? We constantly challenge what I call our cognitive assumptions with more reasonable ones. By changing our way of thinking, we can import change into our behaviors. Doing numerous techniques in DBT we can get to the crux of the problem and really make change. It is not a quick fix. It takes hard work and practice.

The example above is taken from Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT. DBT is a way that we use our minds eye to look at problems and restructure our way of thinking. This is really a simple explanation. When we have patterns to our behavior that are disruptive in our lives and need to change, we look to therapists. Therapists who know DBT can help you with these problems. The example above is only a simple example of what you can do with DBT. DBT is a very complex process that can be taught to people and should only be done under the instruction of a licensed professional.

Check DBT Orange County for DBT-trained clinicians help you and your child find a balance between acceptance and change.