Dr. Judi Sprei & Associates - DBTMARYLAND - MD and Metro D.C. Area Therapists Specializing in DBT & Trauma

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Judi's Musings on DBT and other topics

Thought of the Week

   I may not have caused my own problems
             and yet I am the only one who can solve them. 
   Totally and radically accepting this
             allows me to move forward.  
                            DBT Philosophy on Radical Acceptance

Thought of the Week

"We cannot control the wind; we can only adjust the sails." Kahlil Gibran  

Thought of the Week - Radical Acceptance

My DBT Skills group is currently studying the concept of Radical Acceptance. The following quote, from one of the founders of pscyhotherapy, fits in very well with this concept so I decided to make it this weeks Thought of the Week. Perhaps you might want to spend some time sitting with this concept over the course of this week. Please feel free to contact me to share other sayings or quotes that you find therapeutic. They might just end up becoming one of my future Thoughts of the Week.
"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I can change."   
Carl Rodgers  


While looking through a folder I found this poem that I hadn't looked at for a very long time. Re-reading it reminded me how lovely it is. Try reading it every day this week and spend a few minutes just sitting quietly and meditating on the the words. Judi
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. 
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. but let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.  Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive God to be, and whatever labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life; keep peace in your soul. With all it's sham drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. 
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. 

Thoughts as we approach the end of 2010

If you haven't looked at the rest of my website in awhile, this is a great time to do it. I just added a new page that I hope you will enjoy -- A DBT Alphabet for the New Year.I enjoyed the challenge of creating it.
December can be a very stressful month for many people as they prepare for holidays, react to memories of past holidays and try to get everything that needs to be done in 2010 accomplished in the next 2 weeks. Please remember to take time to breathe and self soothe if this is a hectic or depressing time for you. This is a wonderful time to give yourself the gift of mindfulness.

The Majesty of Sound

Yesterday I went on a retreat -- a day long festival of chanting, toning, singing, movement and drumming. It is not often that I get to spend an entire day doing meditative practices. Doing so much meditation in one day allowed me to go to a deeper place and to really feel the benefits of meditation. I loved the toning -- simple giving voice to each vowel of the alphabet and mindfully letting the sound of the intonation vibrate throughout my body.  And I loved moving to some of the chants; just letting my body sway, twirl, move and connect to the music and our collective voices. You might want to try increasing your meditative practice and see what it does for you.  You can experiment with various ways to meditate including using the sound of your own voice or that of musical instruments to help take you deep inside and return you to your natural state of being.     


     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
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.       
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