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  • Do you find it hard to take care of yourself? The DBT skill of self-soothing is designed to help you tolerate distress, but it’s also helpful for regular self-care. This episode explores what exactly self-soothing is, when and how to use it, and common barriers to implementing it.

    Many of us are going through a time of tremendous uncertainty and multiple losses in the face of a global pandemic. This can wear us down and bring up past traumas, both big and small. Self-soothing is one way to help ease the suffering of this moment.

    This episode explores how to use the senses to self-soothe: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. For some people, self-soothing brings up feelings of not deserving. If you weren’t treated with kindness and care as a child, it might be particularly hard to treat yourself with kindness and care as an adult.

    To learn more about this podcast and get full show notes, go to www.bayareadbtcc.com

    Ask us a Question

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

  • Today, Marielle and Ed unpack what happens in the body and mind when an emotion occurs. There’s actually a lot going on! If you are sensitive to or are confused by your emotions, it can be helpful to have an understanding of the different components that make up an emotional experience.

    DBT’s Model for Describing Emotions breaks down emotions into ten parts: the prompting event, awareness, interpretation, vulnerability factors, biological changes, nervous system changes, expressions, actions, emotion names, and after-effects. This episode explores all these parts as well as skills to intervene at different points during the emotional experience.

    To learn more about this podcast and get full show notes, go to www.bayareadbtcc.com

    Ask us a Question

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

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  • Today Marielle and Ed offer ways to use DBT skills to support emotional equilibrium during a time where systemic anti-black racism is being confronted and discussed in new and necessary ways.

    This episode is not about how to be anti-racist. That’s beyond what we can provide. The resources below serve as a starting point to learn more. Rather, this episode focuses on skills to help you find your emotional footing during a time of national tumult around race. This work deeply aligns with our values as therapists. Racism is a mental health issue and its impact may be easy to dismiss if we aren’t a member of a targeted group.

    We recognize that our lens as white therapists limits us and that there is a lot we may get wrong. In the spirit of DBT, we want to approach what’s hard, rather than avoid.

    To learn more about this podcast and get full show notes, go to www.bayareadbtcc.com

    Ask us a Question

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

  • Today Marielle and Ed answer listener questions.

    The first question is from a listener in Sweden about how to cope with anger at others for not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously.

    Question two is about how to use DEAR MAN to say no.

    The final question in this episode is about how to figure out when it’s time to leave a situation.

    To learn more about this podcast and get full show notes, go to www.bayareadbtcc.com

    Ask us a Question

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

  • Today’s show revisits Radical Acceptance in the face of a global pandemic. Marielle and Ed discuss how they are using this skill (or not using it!) during this time.

    Ed is using Radical Acceptance a lot lately, as he feels like it is often the only thing to do in this situation. Marielle shares her resistance to using Radical Acceptance during this time, and the ways she works with fear of strong emotions if she radically accepts what’s happening in the world.

    Unlike other more action-oriented skills in DBT, Radical Acceptance is more of a frame of mind, or a turning toward (rather than away from) what’s actually happening in any given moment.

    When we can fully and deeply accept reality, painful emotions may arise. But, if we allow them to move through, often there is a sense of peace on the other side. Plus, it’s much harder to take skillful action toward change if we are denying the facts of what is happening.

    So much has changed in a few months and the future is uncertain. Loss of all kinds is happening around us and to us. Listen in to learn how the skill of Radical Acceptance can help.

    To learn more about this podcast and get full show notes, go to www.bayareadbtcc.com

    Ask us a Question

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

  • Today, Marielle and Ed discuss skills to help you communicate with other people during a global pandemic where we are all facing new interpersonal challenges.

    We are connecting - or not connecting - with each other in very different ways now which can strain relationships.

    People living alone may feel isolated.

    People living with others may long for time alone. The demands of partners, children, and/or other family members may feel like too much.

    Additionally, continual low-grade fear and uncertainty make it hard to be in Wise Mind and to know what you want and need.

    The DBT skills of DEAR MAN and GIVE can help. These skills provide structure for asking for what you need, saying no, or having your opinion taken seriously. Marielle and Ed revisit these skills and talk about relationships as a whole during this pandemic.

    To learn more about this podcast and get full show notes, go to www.bayareadbtcc.com

    Ask us a Question

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

  • Today, Marielle and Ed continue to discuss DBT skills to cope during a pandemic. We are all going through a collective trauma and need extra support. The DBT skill called Check The Facts is explored. We also explore the difficulty in using this skill during a time when things are rapidly changing and uncertain. Using Check the Facts coupled with Mindfulness may be helpful to remind yourself that that you are ok right in this moment.

    The importance of dialectics is also discussed to avoid getting stuck in either/or thinking and rigidity. Flexibility helps us respond to an ongoing highly stressful situation, rather than react.

    Gentleness with ourselves and others is very important right now. We all need an extra dose of patience and self-compassion. Some people are pressuring themselves to do a lot during this time, not quite realizing what an emotionally exhausting time this is. Continual anxiety is draining. You are not going to be able to do it all and that’s ok. Watch out for berating yourself for not doing more.

    Marielle and Ed also review PLEASE skills that help you regulate your emotions and decrease your vulnerability to Emotion Mind by focusing on caring for your physical well-being.

    To learn more about this podcast and get full show notes, go to www.bayareadbtcc.com

    Ask us a Question

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

  • In today’s episode, Marielle and Ed explore skills to help you cope with your emotions as we collectively face a pandemic. Many of you may be feeling intense distress on a regular basis during these uncertain times. DBT offers lots of skills to help manage strong, painful emotions like fear and panic.

    Different ways of thinking about your distress levels are discussed, including the Subjective Units of Distress Scale and the Window of Tolerance. Stopping regularly throughout your day to check in with your distress level and naming your emotion can be a helpful first step in helping you feel more centered.

    The Distress Tolerance skill of TIPP is discussed, as is Contributing and Self-Soothing. TIPP, in particular, is helpful in calming an over-activated nervous system.

    To learn more about this podcast and get full show notes, go to www.bayareadbtcc.com

    Ask us a Question

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

  • Today’s show covers the DBT skill called Pros and Cons. While most of us have already done informal pro and con lists in our heads when facing a tough decision, the DBT take on Pros and Cons is a little different.

    Pros and Cons is great to use in anticipation of problem behaviors like avoiding, lashing out, shutting down, self-harm, or any kind of addictive behavior. Just make sure that you’re in your Wise Mind when you write out your Pros and Cons list, rather than Emotion Mind.

    We review states of mind during this episode as well, in case you’re unfamiliar with the concepts of Wise Mind, Emotion Mind, and Reasonable Mind. We also review the SUDs scale, or Subjective Units of Distress, to help you become familiar with what different distress levels feel like for you.

    Pros and Cons is part of the Distress Tolerance module and all the skills in Distress Tolerance are designed to help you get through a crisis or stressful situation without making things worse.

    Towards the end of the podcast, Marielle guides Ed through a Pros and Cons list for procrastination. You might be surprised at what is discovered!

    To learn more about this podcast and get full show notes, go to www.bayareadbtcc.com

    Ask us a Question

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

  • In today’s episode, Marielle and Ed discuss the emotion regulation skills of Build Mastery and Cope Ahead. These are future-oriented skills that involve some planning to carry out.

    Build Mastery is a way to strengthen your sense of competence by doing small, regular things that are challenging. Over time, this skill will help you stretch yourself and believe in your capability to accomplish hard things which in turn, will increase your emotional resiliency. This skill also helps you avoid a common mistake when trying to learn a new skill or do something hard: setting your sights too high and then giving up in defeat. Instead, Build Mastery helps you make small, incremental changes that are stretch you out of your comfort zone but aren’t impossible. You’ll find that the skill of Build Mastery will help you increase your sense of self-worth, self-efficacy, and pride in what you can achieve.

    Cope Ahead is a skill that walks you through a process of planning for stressful situations ahead of time. This is a good skill to use when you anticipate that you will be in a situation that will bring up strong painful emotions and/or you might feel like engaging in a behavior you are trying to stop. Part of why this skill can be so helpful is that it asks you to make a coping plan ahead of time, step by step, and then visualize coping well with the situation.

    To learn more about this podcast and get full show notes, go to www.bayareadbtcc.com

    Ask us a Question

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

  • Today I’m talking with Dr. Kelsey Harper, a clinical psychologist and DBT therapist who works with trauma, PTSD, and chronic emotion dysregulation. With over a decade of work spanning varying settings and clientele, Kelsey has established a private practice in Santa Monica and observed time and again, that many clients reported extensive histories of trauma leading them to seek therapy and healing in their adult lives. With her own personal recovery as a survivor of sexual assault and experience working with the unique needs of survivors in their recovery journey, she built a new community called Warrior Reclamation to offer survivors support, connection, and skills for reclaiming their lives.

    Kelsey talks about her own experience of isolation and confusion following sexual assault and how this inspired her to create a space so others don’t have to go through this alone. Listen in as we discuss DBT skills, sitting with emotions and how to survive rape culture.

    To learn more about this podcast and full show notes, go to bayareadbtcc.com

    Ask Us a Question!

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

  • In today’s episode, we discuss your relationship with yourself, focusing on the skill of Loving-Kindness.

    When you are having a hard time, are you kind or harsh with yourself? Do you berate yourself for real or perceived mistakes? Do you try to motivate yourself with criticism?

    These tactics tend to not work in the long-run and erode your sense of self.

    What if you had permission to be gentle and compassionate with yourself?

    The DBT skill of Loving-Kindness meditation is based on the Buddhist practice of Metta, which can help you cultivate a gentle, loving relationship with yourself. Although the roots of this skill lie in Buddhism, we offer a secular version of the practice here.

    To learn more about this podcast and full show notes, go to bayareadbtcc.com

    Ask Us a Question!

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

  • Instead of making New Year’s resolutions this year, think about using the momentum of the new year to make changes in your life that are aligned with your values.

    Often New Year’s resolutions come from a place of shame or deficiency, a place of trying to fix what’s “wrong” with you. What if you made changes in your life based on what’s most important to you rather than “fixing” what’s wrong? This is where values come in.

    The DBT skill called Accumulating Positive Emotions in the Long Term can help you experience more positive emotions more often by aligning your life with your values. In today’s episode, Marielle and Ed take a deep dive into the skill.

    Show Highlights Access your Wise Mind when assessing your values What’s actually important to you vs. what you think SHOULD be important Your values and priorities can shift as you go through different seasons in your life This skill outlines a step by step process to make your values a reality in your life Avoid avoiding Pick one value to focus on at a time Identify a few goals related to this value Bite-size action steps Take action! Links & Resources

    DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition

    Ask Us a Question!

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

    To learn more about DBT and therapy in general, read our blog.

  • The holidays are a time where there is often a lot of pressure to have a certain kind of experience - one that is about family, friends, joy, and celebration. For many folks, this is more of a fantasy than a reality.

    If you are fortunate enough to enjoy time with family and friends during the holidays, the expectation of constant togetherness and merry-making can be a set up for disappointment.

    This episode discusses common themes that come up during the holidays as well as ways to take care of yourself.

    Show Highlights:

    The mythical family gathering where everyone is happy creates a lot of unrealistic expectations Travel can add pressure and stress Even in the most functional families, it’s often a lot of concentrated time together Old dynamics between parents and adult children arise Dealing with judgmental family members Cope Ahead is a great skill to use for the holidays Cope Ahead requires you to describe the situation that will prompt a problem response in you, anticipate the problem behavior or emotion ahead of time, and then plan out what skills you will use The skill of Radical Acceptance - that you have the family, friends, and social life that you have right now Acceptance does not equal approval Adult children can often think that they are going to go back to families and change them and this rarely works Loneliness, isolation, and grief gets amplified Creating your own rituals and traditions The Distress Tolerance skill of Contributing can be especially helpful during the holidays

    Recap of Skills Discussed:

    Mindfulness PLEASE Cope Ahead Radical Acceptance Mindfulness of Others Contributing

    Links & Resources:

    DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition

    Ask Us a Question!

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

    To learn more about DBT and therapy in general, read our blog.

  • Do you have a hard time doing nice things for yourself? The DBT skill called Accumulating Positive Events in the Short-Term is all about doing small, regular self-care. Putting effort into building positive emotions on a regular basis helps build emotional resilience so you won’t get as thrown when hard things happen.

    Many folks believe that they have to “earn” doing something nice for themselves or that they don’t deserve to do things just for pleasure. If this is the case for you, it might be surprisingly hard to take time to engage in regular pleasurable activities.

    This skill won’t change things overnight - that’s why it’s called accumulating! Slowly, though, you can build up your emotional resilience which can act as a buffer when life gets challenging.

    To learn more about this podcast and full show notes, go to bayareadbtcc.com

    Ask Us a Question!

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

  • Sometimes it’s better to not act on our emotions. The DBT skill Opposite Action helps you act opposite to what your emotion is telling you to do. Use this skill when your emotion doesn’t fit the facts or when your emotion does fit the facts but acting on the emotion isn’t effective.

    This skill can help you act the way you want to feel instead of the way you do feel. Make sure you use this skill to change emotions you want to change, not emotions that other people want you to change. This skill has several steps so listen in to learn how to fully change the way you feel.

    To learn more about this podcast and full show notes, go to bayareadbtcc.com

    Ask Us a Question!

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

    To learn more about DBT and therapy in general, read our blog.

  • In Episode 15 of The Skillful Podcast, Marielle and Ed discuss checking the facts. When you have a painful emotion that you want to change, using the DBT skill called Check the Facts can be very helpful. Sometimes strong, painful emotions aren’t a reaction to what has actually happened but are based on beliefs, interpretations, and assumptions about what has happened. Use this skill to help you change emotions YOU want to change - not emotions other people in your life want you to change.

    Show Highlights:

    Emotions might not be based on facts Sometimes just checking the facts can bring down a painful emotion quickly Start by naming the specific emotion that you want to change What event brought on the emotion? Be non-judgmental when describing what prompted the emotion Name your interpretations, judgments, assumptions, and thoughts about the prompting event Identify the stories your mind is telling you Ask yourself what you’re scared of Imagine the worst-case scenario and think about how you would cope Often painful emotions are based on assuming a threat and minimizing our ability to cope Assess whether the intensity of your emotion fits the facts Assess whether how long your emotion is lasting fits the facts Remind yourself that you have the capacity to get through very painful things Sometimes the emotion fits the facts but acting on it isn’t effective

    Links & Resources

    To learn more about DBT and therapy in general, read our blog

    DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition

    Ask Us a Question!

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

  • Many sensitive people have wished at times that they could just get rid of their emotions. They may try to dampen, suppress, or deny emotions. Although these efforts may work partially, at least in the short-term, they never really work in the long term. Plus, often the things sensitive people may turn to in order to lessen the sting of painful emotions, such as addictive or impulsive behaviors, create additional problems.

    In this episode, Marielle and Ed talk about the purpose of emotions and things that make it hard to regulate them. They talk about how emotions send a message to ourselves, letting us know that there is something we need to pay attention to. Emotional expression is also a powerful communicator to other people, whether we like it or not. Emotions move us to take action when we need to. Without emotions, we wouldn’t run from tigers, tend to a sick child, or fall in love.

    Show Highlights:

    Emotions motivate us to take action quickly when we need to Emotions keep us connected to others; they motivate behavior that is good for the “tribe” Emotions can be infectious or contagious Body language and tone of voice also communicate our emotions to others Emotions may be based on assumptions rather than facts When anger is really strong, it tells us that someone or something has gone past our limits Anger can feel very self-righteous at times Anger might fit the facts but expressing it may or may not be effective So much of the work with emotions is about slowing down Some people feel like they don’t have a right to express anger Our relationship to anger can be very gendered Anger is one of the few emotions that men are typically allowed to have Men are often socialized to not feel fear or sadness Women are often socialized to not express or even feel anger Class, race, gender, and sexual orientation can influence which emotions are ok to express publicly and how they are expressed The different factors that make it hard to regulate emotions Some people just feel emotions more strongly than others Things like lack of sleep, being sick or not eating enough can make it harder to regulate emotions Telling someone to “just get over it” doesn’t help Sometimes our expressions of intense emotions get reinforced Moodiness also gets in the way of being able to regulate emotions, meaning that your current mood dictates what you do (rather than your wise mind) Mood-dependent behavior can take us out of line with our goals and values It takes willingness and effort to work on regulating emotions

    Links & Resources

    To learn more about DBT and therapy in general, read our blog.

    DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition

    Ask Us a Question!

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

  • Today Marielle and Ed discuss the 10 most common myths about emotions. These myths can come from the culture around us and from the families we were raised in. Asking yourself where you learned some of these myths may be helpful in debunking them. Some myths have to do with a fear of being out of control with emotions and other myths are more about equating emotions with the truth of who you are.

    Show Highlights:

    Myth 1: Having strong emotions means I am out of control.

    Feeling the emotion and the behavior get conflated It can feel like strong emotion automatically equals out of control behavior Intense emotion can be very physical Taking action on our strong emotion makes it feel out of control

    Myth 2: If I start crying, I’m never gonna stop.

    We always start crying, often sooner than we think Under all circumstances, we do eventually stop crying

    Myth 3: I need to push down my anger or it will become dangerous.

    Anger also has a life-span, if we let it move through us it will dissipate We can feel angry and not act on it in a dangerous way We have a lot of power over how to handle our own anger

    Myth 4: If I am feeling very emotional, I must do something to change it.

    Emotions give us information We don’t necessarily need to change emotions

    Myth 5: Reason is better than emotion.

    Another way of stating this myth is: it’s always better to be rational than emotional Sometimes it sounds appealing to not have emotions Emotions connect us to others

    Myth 6: Emotions can just happen for no reason.

    Emotions are a response to something even if we don’t know what that is If you’re having a strong emotional response, it’s a signal to do a little exploring

    Myth 7: I am my emotions.

    We are so much more than our emotions It’s not uncommon to feel more than one emotion at once If you are basing your identity on your emotions, it will be hard to have a stable sense of self because our emotions are in continual flux

    Myth 8: It’s inauthentic to try to change or question my emotions.

    Sometimes it’s not effective to feel or act on an emotion Sometimes our emotions are not aligned with our goals or values so the most authentic thing to do is to work to change it Our emotions don’t always fit the facts

    Myth 9: My emotions speak the absolute truth.

    Sometimes our strong emotions are based on interpretations or assumptions rather than actual facts Just because you feel something doesn’t mean it’s true

    Myth 10: I need to be very emotional to be creative.

    Emotions help support creativity but we don’t have to be overwhelmed by emotions to be creative Ask Us a Question!

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.

  • Marielle and Ed continue their conversation about Distress Tolerance focusing on Distraction and Self-Soothing. While these skills won’t solve any problems, they can be super helpful when you are caught up in painful emotions.

    Distraction in DBT is broken down into separate skills that go by the acronym ACCEPTS (as in Wise Mind ACCEPTS).

    Show Highlights:

    Choosing distraction is very different than unconsciously avoiding Sometimes it’s wise to not fully experience your emotions These skills can be used when you have a strong urge to fix a problem immediately You can also use these skills when you feel an urge to engage in a behavior you are trying to stop A - Activities C - Contributing C - Comparisons E - Emotions P - Pushing Away T - Thoughts S - Sensations Different activities redirect your attention to something else - away from the painful emotion Figuring out what activities hold your attention when you’re upset Contributing can have a secondary benefit of creating a sense of purpose or meaning in your life. Comparing our pain to others can put our pain in perspective Comparing your current situation to other hard times in your life can help you feel like you can get through To use emotions to distract, first figure out what you are feeling and then do something that evokes a different emotion Pushing away is shutting out or blocking your painful emotion Self-Soothing with your five senses: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell

    Resources:

    DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition

    SUDs (Subjective Units of Distress) Scale

    Ask Us a Question!

    We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

    Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.