• Introduction To DBT

    DBT is a type of therapy which explains why some people experience feelings more intensely than others and often have problems controlling those feelings and unhealthy behaviors.


    The struggle with emotions and behaviors are caused by a combination of our biological makeup and our social environment.


    BIOLOGY: People who use self-destructive behaviors to cope with stress and who have a tough time controlling their emotions tend to be very sensitive to events around them. They often have a hard time returning to a balanced emotional state because they have something physically different in their emotional brain.


    ENVIRONMENT: Our social environment influences us and we influence our social environment. People who often engage in self-destructive behaviors often come from environments that were unsafe, mean, or hurtful in some way.


    An invalidating environment tells you that your experiences (feelings, thoughts, and ideas) don’t make sense, or are wrong. Various ways this can happen are:


    1. You are upset because of a break-up and someone tells you that you shouldn’t cry because you weren’t together that long or that you are young and will find someone else. 2. When other people oversimplify your experience. For example, you tell your parents that you are depressed and they suggest that you would feel better if you exercised and came to church. “But it’s not that simple.”
    3. The environment responds to you inconsistently, or not at all. It takes a severe behavior or episode to get someone’s attention. For example, you tell someone that you are depressed every day for a month and there is no response until you harm yourself physically.
    4. Any type of abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual) is also very invalidating.


    When a person is born with a BIOLOGICAL sensitivity to stress AND is raised in an ENVIRONMENT that is invalidating, the person may feel confused and limited in being able to deal with overwhelming emotions. DBT skills training is designed to teach you new skills to deal with stressful emotions and cope with your environment in a more positive way.

  • Dialectics: What is it?

    The word DIALECTICAL means that two opposite ideas can be true at the same time. Dialectical thinking requires looking at the “big picture” instead of the small parts or details of a situation.


    Dialectics teaches us that:

    • There is more than one way to think about a situation and more than one way to solve a problem.
    • All people have unique qualities and different points of view.
    • It is important NOT to see the world in “black and white” “all or nothing” ways. There is no absolute truth.
    • Change is the only constant. Truth evolves over time.
    • A life worth living has both positive and negative aspects and all of these aspects are necessary and valuable.




    Examples of dialectical thinking are:

    • You are doing the best you can AND you need to do better. 
    • Try harder AND be more motivated to change. 
    • You are tough AND you are gentle.


    This perspective helps pave the way to middle path thinking by:

    • Expanding our thoughts to become more open minded.
    • “Unstick” conflicts or standoffs with others Be more flexible and approachable
    • Avoid assumptions and blaming others

    Non-dialectical thinking, or problem thinking, is when we think in extremes or dichotomies, aka “black OR white” thinking. This causes RIGID thinking and doesn’t leave us much room to creatively solve problems, communicate with others, or deal with stress.


    We often need to synthesize different ideas to come up with reasonable solutions.


    Instead of thinking in black OR white, start thinking in black AND white (not gray). By using the word AND, we incorporate the ideas and qualities of “black” with the ideas and qualities of “white.”


    BUT = everything after feels negative or like an attack or disagreement
    AND = feels more acknowledging of both sides and getting unstuck

  • walking the middle path: a "how to" guide

    1. Move away from “either/or” thinking to “both/and” thinking. Avoid extreme words such as ALWAYS, NEVER, and YOU MAKE ME. Be descriptive. Example: Instead of saying “Everyone ALWAYS treats me unfairly” you can say “Sometimes I am treated fairly AND other times I am treated unfairly.”


    2. Practice looking at all sides of a situation and seeing all points of view. Find the “kernel of truth” in every side. Take some perspective.


    3. Remember: NO ONE has the absolute truth. Be open to alternatives.


    4. Use “I feel” statements, instead of “You are,” “You should,” or “That’s just the way it is” statements. Don’t should on yourself or others.


    5. Accept that different opinions can be valid, even if you do not agree with them. “I can see your point of view even though I do not agree with it.”


    6. Do not assume that you know what others are thinking. Check your assumptions. “What did it mean when you said?”


    7. Do not expect others to know what you’re thinking. “What I am trying to say is...”

  • Use of information for this site

    This website is intended for information and educational purposes only. No information presented is intended for counseling or treatment. Use of this website does not form a counseling relationship. For more information please contact me at blair@blairbucklerlpc.com

    All Posts