Change your thoughts, change your life. Be careful in the words that you choose because they carry weight. What we think, what we say, and what we do has great effect on who we are. All of these sentiments are both spiritual in nature and reflect the purpose of utilizing skills provided by dialectical behavioral therapy. DBT is similar to cognitive behavioral therapy in that it assess the thought process and proactively makes a change. Whereas cognitive behavioral therapy is more about the thoughts, dialectical behavioral therapy looks at communication and not only changing the thoughts but changing how those thoughts are communicated.
Originally, dialectical behavioral therapy was used for treating individuals with borderline personality disorder. Deeply rooted in shame and insecurities regarding abandonment, people with borderline personality disorder have a difficult time authentically expressing their emotions. What often comes out are accusations, manipulations, and fear statements which don’t adequately describe the internal experience. Their words can be hurtful and cause harm. Dialectical behavioral therapy helps people take that much needed pause between reaction and response by encouraging them to examine their thoughts before speaking on them. Such skills are spiritual in nature as they encourage taking time to reflect and make a decision on how we ultimately want to behave as human beings.
Taking an honest look at the nature of one’s thoughts without judging or criticizing them is hard to do. If someone has experienced trauma, shame, or abuse in their life, they likely have a loud inner narrative which is rich with criticism. Judging the self and judging others can lead to harmful communications and thought processes. Non judgment is often seen as a Buddhist skill, in an attempt to be detached in a compassionate way from all temporary things.
One way to be detached from judgment is to accept all things as they immediately are. A situation may not be satisfactory or even ideal, but it is what it is. Similarly, thoughts and feelings might not be what we want them to be, but until we decide to change them, they are what they are. We can create chaos out of resistance or peace out of acceptance. In recovery it is often described as accepting the things we cannot change and changing the things we can.
Being aware and paying attention to one’s own thoughts is often a revolutionary idea to people in recovery. So often, we run on autopilot and just go with the flow of what we assume to be correct. By practicing mindfulness in all of our activities, which might include meditation, we can take that pause to look at something and notice, nonjudgmentally, what we really see.
Aurora Recovery Center uses the practice of DBT to help members gain the communication and coping skills they need to live a life of long term recovery. For information on our treatment programs for substance abuse, co-occurring mental health disorders, and more, call us today at 844-515-STOP.