The Use of Mindfulness in DBT Therapy

Happy woman

Did you know that DBT therapy includes a mindfulness component? This is one of four core pieces of DBT.

The other three are interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation, and distress tolerance.

Mindfulness is DBT therapy's foundation. It has Western contemplative practices, and Eastern Zen philosophy is its base.

Mindfulness makes people aware of their thoughts, feelings, behavioral urges, and actual behaviors.

People can have more control of themselves by practicing mindfulness.

Here we will discuss states of mind, core mindfulness skills, meditation, listening, and why mindfulness has become so popular.

Continue reading to learn all about how mindfulness is incorporated into DBT therapy!

Anxiety Therapists in Colorado

Brooke Moraski, LPCC, NCC

Brooke Moraski, LPCC, NCC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Joseph Anders, LPCC

Joseph Anders, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Janelle Wagenknecht, MA, LPCC, ADDC

Janelle Wagenknecht, MA, LPCC, ADDC

Colorado
(720) 710-0919
Marie Whatley LPCC

Marie Whatley LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Denise Itule, LPCC

Denise Itule, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Kimberly Nefflen, LPCC

Kimberly Nefflen, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Kristen Yamaoka-Los, LPC

Kristen Yamaoka-Los, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Cassondra Chagnon, LPCC

Cassondra Chagnon, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Marta Schmuki, LPC

Marta Schmuki, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Sarah Webster, SWC

Sarah Webster, SWC

Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Stephanie Kol, LPCC

Stephanie Kol, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Emily Murphy, LPC

Emily Murphy, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374

States of Mind

Core mindfulness in DBT therapy starts with states of mind.

At varying times, we could be in one of three states of mind: logical, emotional, and wise.

The logical mind is what people use to read a map, do math, and do other concrete tasks. It is used for empirical facts.

The emotional mind is when people really feel their emotions, then act based on them.

An extreme example of an emotional mind is when someone is angry, then acts impulsively without considering or caring about consequences.

The wise mind is the desired state of mind that people like to be in and make decisions from.

Logical and emotional minds combine to create a wise mind. When one is in a wise mind, people are aware of their feelings and choose to act in a way to honor both goals and feelings.

If a person is angry wise mind, they acknowledge their feelings and act in a manner to avoid negative consequences for themselves.

Observe, Describe, What & How Skills

Part of mindfulness is observing behaviors, events, feelings, and thoughts without attempting to change them.

Observation is about awareness. Through observation, we describe. We need to richly and accurately describe our experiences to better access self-control and empathy.

Observing and describing are important because it separates our experience from reality, and what is taught in DBT therapy is that thoughts and feelings are not facts.

When one uses the "what" skill, one participates without feeling self-conscious.

This means being fully present in as many moments as one can. How skills are used to live non-judgmentally, one-mindfully, and effectively.

When one is non-judgemental, they judge something as neither bad nor good.

This approach is non-evaluative. How skills encourage people to do what works.



Meditation

One big way to practice mindfulness in DBT therapy is through meditation. 

In fact, some people say that mindfulness is a form of meditation. 

Many meditations focus on the breath because one's breath is always there to be used to anchor to the present moment. 

When one practices medication, they may be caught up in sounds, emotions or thoughts, but the next breath allows them to come back. 

The easiest way to meditate is to sit comfortably, and to straighten but not stiffen their body. 

This means letting the spine's natural curvature remain. You can close your eyes if you would like, but if not then it is most helpful to soften your gaze. 

Feel your breath, and notice when your mind wanders, then return your attention to your breath. 

Be kind to yourself when your mind wanders because that is normal. Do not wrestle with your thoughts. 

Take as long as you would like with meditation, and upon coming out of it notice your emotions and thoughts.


Get Matched to the Right Provider

Complete this questionnaire to discover service providers that match your requirements! No need to provide contact information.


Get Matched

Mindful Listening

 How often do you find yourself looking at your phone or computer when someone else speaks to you?

Although you can't control if other people do this or not, you can control your own behavior.

Be genuinely interested in other people when they speak as part of mindfulness in DBT therapy.

Be unbiased, present and open in your listening, even if what the other person says doesn't line up with your own desires or ideas.

As you start a conversation with someone else, address anything on your end that needs to be taken care of before you dive into talking.

If you need to react to the other person's words, do so silently. Don't be afraid to repeat back to the other person what they have said, as that will help them feel heard.

It is also a good idea to ask open-ended questions to show real interest.

Why is Mindfulness So Popular?

You may have noticed in recent years that your friends or family frequently talk about "mindfulness." 

Well, why is this? There has been a lot of marketing on it. There has been an unmet need for calm contemplation and quiet in a fast-paced world filled with technology that takes up all hours of the day. 

Financial pressures and workloads have not decreased for many people. 

People these days are exhausted, overworked and running around. Many figure that fast-paced life is unsustainable, and can be destructive and counterproductive. 

People only want a way to slow down, and hopefully sit still. 

Mindfulness, whether formally part of DBT therapy or not, leads to less confusion, anger, depression, anxiety, stress, and chronic pain; and better sleep, attention, focus, immune system functioning, and emotional resilience and stability. 

Not just adults, but children practice mindfulness as well. Children may actually have an easier time than adults because their thinking, feeling and behavior patterns are less ingrained. 

Both children and adults can benefit from mindfulness because it lets them "just be" without an inner voice of shame or blame, and no sense of right or wrong. 

It is essentially a "time in" instead of a "time out" to let the child cope and feel their feelings.


Conclusion

As we have indicated, mindfulness is part of DBT therapy and is also quite popular in today's world.

Although it is broken down into formal skills in DBT therapy, one may even practice mindfulness without realizing they are practicing DBT!

Mindfulness is all about awareness, and it is what DBT is based on. It is only one unit of DBT, but it is quite powerful, especially when practiced regularly.

Resources 

×
Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

Related Posts

 

Comments 1

Amber Parshley on Jun 21st, 2023

Thank you very much!

Thank you very much!
Already Registered? Login Here
May 18th, 2024

overcomers counseling logo

Explore local counseling and psychiatry services to find the tailored support you require. Embark on a journey towards resilience and become an Overcomer with the right professional assistance by your side!

Contact Us

5585 Erindale Dr. Ste 204
Colorado Springs, CO 80918 mailing
(719) 345-2424 office
(719) 888-5022 text
(855) 719-2549 fax

Business Hours (Provider's hours may vary)

 Sunday   Closed
 Monday   8:00am - 5:00pm
 Tuesday   8:00am - 5:00pm
 Wednesday    8:00am - 5:00pm
 Thursday   8:00am - 5:00pm
 Friday   8:00am - 5:00pm
 Saturday  Closed