Dr. Judi Sprei and Associates - MD and Metro D.C. Area Therapists Specializing in DBT & Trauma
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Judi's Musings on DBT and other topics

November 2010

DESCRIBE

     In my DBT group we have been studying Describe, including separating thoughts from facts. So, when I found the following bit of wisdom on the horoscope page in today's newspaper, I thought I would share it with you.
     "The thoughts that fill your head are not necessarily the truth. But if you take them seriously, your reality will form in a way to match up with those thoughts and make them true."  
    

Thought of the Week

Be Mindful of the Positive
and
Unmindful of the negative
(only be mindful enought to keep yourself safe for that moment -- then let it go.)  
 
       When you walk through a garden
                                                     are you looking for the roses
                                                                                          or for the thorns?

Mindsight - Dan Siegel Workshop

     Yesterday I went to a workshop presented by Dr. Daniel Siegel. Dan is one of the most brilliant people I have ever met. I was awed by his ability to absorb information from so many diverse fields and then synthesize and make sense of all the material. And he does it all with humility and a wonderful sense of humor! The consilience field, or "whole elephant view", brings together knowledge from all fields and allows for a deeper understanding of reality.  I look forward to learning more as Dan further develops his Mindsight concepts.
     One of the things that really impressed me is how well DBT fits into Dan's findings on mental health. Based on more scientific material than I could possibly describe here, Dan & his colleagues conclude that mental health emerges from integration, the linkage of differentiated elements of a system. Integration can make permanent changes in our brains and can thus impact our mental as well as our physical health. Of course, dialectics is all about integration; giving validity to all aspects of our selves and finding a middle ground. Being aware of dialectical thinking can lead to less rigidity and less chaos and thus further integration and mental health.
     One method of furthering your own integration is practicing Mindfulness Meditation every day.  Mindfulness Meditation can actually stimulate the integrative circuits of our brains to grow! There is so much information available on Mindfulness Meditation that I am not going to repeat it here. However, I do include some resources on Mindfulness Meditation on my website. I highly recommend the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn. Why not try it? Spend 10 minutes a day doing one of Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Meditations and see if after 3 or 4 months you start to notice any changes. (Note : Not all meditations are the same -- the research that Dan talks about is based on the specific type of meditation called Mindfulness Meditation.) Are you thinking that 10 minutes a day is too much time?Okay. What if you start by just being aware of your breath for 5 minutes a day. As little as 5 minutes a day of watching your breath can lead to powerful changes. Try it -- you are worth it! 
     One last thought -- Dan ended the day by introducing the concept of Empathic Joy -- feeling joy in someone else's success. Wouldn't the world be a nicer place if we all felt empathic joy at other people's success rather than envy, jealousy or another emotion. And, since we are all connected, doesn't it make sense to be joyous when  someone else has a success. Again, why not try it. The next time you hear of someone's success see if you can cultivate an attitude of joy, true empathic joy based on their success. Try it yourself and then spread the concept to others.   Judi

Preparing for Thanksgiving - Cope Ahead Skill

     This is a good time to start preparing for Thanksgiving by making a list of all the things for which you are thankful. Try starting now, be really specific in your responses and see if you can come up with 100 items by Thanksgiving Day.
     Traditional "family" holidays can be difficult for many people and having reminders of the blessings in your life may help you get through the season. So, if you create a list now, my guess is that you will be thankful for your list during the next several weeks.
      Feel free to share your list, or parts of it, in my comment area. Your list may remind other readers of things they are thankful for in their own life.
     Creating a list beforehand to help you get through a tough time is an example of the skill of coping ahead. We Cope Ahead when we make sure we have supplies in our homes when we hear a storm is in the weather forecast. We cope ahead when we buy Roadside Assistance so we know what to do if we have a flat tire away from home. We cope ahead when we leave a spare set of keys with our neighbor. We cope ahead when we take preventative medicine -- which reminds me -- if you have not had your flu shot yet this year and you plan on having one, this might be a good time to do it. Do It Now is another wonderful skill that we will discuss in the future.   
     Over time, I will be adding more posts about Coping Ahead. It is a great skill to have in order to prevent crises. And isn't it wonderful to prevent a crisis rather than having to spend so much energy putting out fires in your life. Feel free to add your own coping ahead skills to my list.       

Thought of the Week

Thought of the Week
 
"Suppose you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down."   
                                                                                                                         Mary Pickford
 
Consider spending a few moments this week thinking about this quote and how it may apply to your life.

Thought of the Week

 
The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.
    
Carl Rodgers
 

Some DBT concepts for you to consider

Today I thought I would share with you some DBT ideas based on the work of Dr. Marsha Linehan. Perhaps you can allow yourself to just sit with these ideas and see what happens.   
 
To be effective and less emotionally volatile, your want to move from:
 
Emotionally Focused Coping      to    Solution Focused Coping
 
                  Focusing on Problems   to   Focusing on Problem Solving
       
                            Avoidance/Escape     to    Action
 
When you are afraid, approach what you are afraid of (as long as you are not in real danger of dying or injury.) Ask Wise Mind if you are in immediate danger.
 
When you feel guilt or shame,  either make amends if the feeling is justified or move on to new situations that can prompt different feelings if the feeling is unjustified.
 
When you feel sad or depressed, get active!
 
When you feel angry, either change the situation that prompts the anger or distract yourself from the anger so you don’t make the situation worse, assuming the situation can’t be changed.
 
AVOID AVOIDING!
 

Welcome to My First Blog

 
In the following weeks, I will be entering new information here so please check back often. Sometimes it will be a thought to ponder during the week and other times it might be some of my thoughts on a particular topic related to therapy, wellness, healing or DBT. I am still busy building and improving my website so I hope you will visit that often too. I am currently focusing on the section that explains Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) which is one of the therapeutic orientations that I most frequently use in my psychology practice in Bethesda, MD.  I am enjoying the process of creating this website and I hope you will enjoy reading it. Judi
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