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  • Alicia Paz

Why DBT is so damn hard!

First off let me start by saying DBT isn't for everyone, there can be a million reasons why this is true and even as a fan of DBT there have been times where I meet with a student and we spoke about leaving DBT group. Sometimes there is a plan to return, sometimes it's not a good fit. That being said this is a post for those who want to continue with DBT.

DBT is hard! I have never met a student who find it easy, or who found it immediately "took." It takes a while to see a difference in using the skills and that's not easy to do, so let's talk about why it's not comfortable and how to work to overcome it.

It's new, it's is changing some core behaviors and beliefs and it doesn't come natural since chances are you may not have used these skills prior.

It feels robotic, yes it does. It has a textbook and for in-person DBT you often read from a book and follow a specific class format. The point is it provides structure and for many it's needed because some of those in DBT don't have structure and it can be beneficial.

It's so repetitive and boring, yes yes it is repetitive and can be boring and this may be the number one complaint I hear. Much like the robotic comment it's done on purpose and to really drill home the topic and skill. This comes up a lot in my course reviews so I even made a DBT FAQ handout to include the point of repetition.

It's just not my thing, and yes like I mentioned above it just may not be for you. This doesn't mean you didn't fail or drop out of DBT it means DBT didn't work for you.

I am not here to convince you to continue DBT. That being said here's some tips if you do plan on continuing DBT and find yourself struggling or to prepare yourself or DBT if you are about to begin.

Keep going, it's a marathon not a sprint, it won't be easy and it takes time to use the skills and have them work. When they do you might have a "lightbulb moment" and see huge changes so sit through the rough patches to get there.

Grab a notebook and process, DBT is a lot of skills and not talk therapy, for most students they are in individual therapy is well but some are not. So many things come up that I recommend starting with a notebook and pen and journalling as you go. This is a class like school and it may be a good idea to treat it as such to help in learning.

Mastery of Skills, is a DBT skill which in short is a skill about getting good (mastering) other DBT skills. So use skills that work for you often, take pride in doing DBT, celebrate when a skill work, celebrate when any skill are used.

Take a break, maybe this isn't this time for you to do DBT. Maybe you need some space, maybe the time doesn't work, the other students aren't your cup of tea or it's just not a good fit for a million reasons right now. Enjoy some space from DBT, typically you can return at another time. I have had many students start, stop and start again and their second round was great!

Try a new format, as I said above this might not be the group for you. If you are able to find another DBT group that is great and here is a map of DBT providers to help. If that isn't possible or you want more flexibility in learning DBT check out my courses which are 100% online, self-paced and include an hour a week of group DBT skills coaching, ask as many questions as you want, view the course forever and a 30-day money back guarantee here.

Whether you continue DBT or not I hope you find some help that is right for you

Take Care,


©2018 by Online Coping Skills

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