Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) was originally developed by Marsha Linehan to help manage the pain associated with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but in studies was found to help with a range of mental disorders. After battling the disorder herself in her adolescence it was her sole purpose to help bring others out of the darkness and to teach them a way to cope.
She describes BPD patients as having emotional third degree burns, lacking emotional skin, so everything hurts. DBT was designed to address this, while focusing on mindfulness, emotional regulation, and radical acceptance; giving the patient empowerment to find alternative ways to cope that didn’t involve self harm or the use of drugs and alcohol.
Mindfulness is a vital skill to regularly exercise for a person diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. It focuses around the effectiveness of your personal awareness on an everyday basis. You will learn techniques to control your psyche instead of letting your thoughts and impulses control you.
Mindfulness will teach you to focus on the moment at hand, and not your past or future. These techniques will allow you to learn to see, feel, taste, and clearly hear the different aspects of your daily experiences. Also, mindfulness in its purest form can provide an opened door to acceptance and freedom in every moment of your life.
A painful lack of emotional regulation is one of the most prevalent manifestations of Borderline Personality Disorder. Learning this skill can be vital to the acquisition of a meaningful and fulfilling life for someone diagnosed with BPD.
The first major step of learning how to emotionally regulate is to learn how to label your feelings properly and specifically. Many times we just say we’re “feeling crappy” or “pissed off”, but those terms don’t accurately describe your emotions. You will learn to pinpoint feelings like anxious or frustrated instead.
Some people can easily find a positive outlook in the midst of a bad situation, but those that suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder don’t really have the ability to do such things.
You have to learn. Learn to freely accept that your childhood was painful. Accept that you’ve lost your child. Accept that your past actions have ruined your record and may keep you from forwarding your life in certain areas. Once you learn to say to yourself, “Hey, that happened!” you will be far more equipped to begin planning and working for the betterment of your future.
Radical acceptance is the very first and most important step when beginning your journey through Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. It’s centered around hope. Hope that your illness does not have to be a handicap in your social life and mental stability. Once you learn to manage your mind, you’ll begin to see a great improvement in your quality of life.