Through the years, there are MANY different types of therapy I’ve tried. Some have been amazingly successful, some moderately so, and some seem to just make life harder for me. Since part of my goal is to educate and inform people about mental health issues and treatment options, I’m going to be running a series of brief articles about these different therapy types. Hopefully, it’ll let someone find a therapy that will help them through their recovery and healing. There really is a way forward. Finding it can be a bit of a challenge though!
For this first Therapy Tuesday, I’m going to start discussing Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). This was the first therapy that made significant changes in my life because it gave me skills I didn’t have before. Where previous therapy sessions had primarily consisted of discussing the abuses I survived or venting about the stressors in my life at that time, these sessions said, “Let’s learn this skill and then start applying it.”
DBT therapy was started by Marsha Linehan. It was absolutely ground-breaking. It was the first therapy proven to help patients with Borderline Personality Disorder. Then it was used on patients with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other disorders, and it worked for them as well! Now, as you can see at the link above, the treatment has been expanded and is used literally around the world.
If I were to select any single statement as the key to why DBT works so well, it would be:
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. Buddha
There is a lot of actual Buddhist philosophy behind DBT, but you don’t need to convert to Buddhism to benefit. The same phrase exists in many faiths in one form or another. Don’t live in fear, they teach us. Don’t be anxious about tomorrow.
While it’s a challenge not to be anxious, with the many skills taught in DBT, we can actually overcome anxiety and many other issues and find ourselves living in a state of clarity more often than not, where anxiety becomes a strange visitor instead of a house guest who won’t leave.
More on DBT next week! Be sure to follow the blog so you don’t miss out!