MORE NEWS ON DBT TRAINING FOR OMID STAFF November 24, 2017 by admin Dr Paul Grantham (above) led the OMID team through more training, this time a 3-day practical session on DBT Skills. DBT skills groups are an essential part of the DBT process; within skills groups, participants are able to learn and put to practice skills that can enhance their lives and support their individual therapy process, which focuses on reducing behaviors that are maladaptive. Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) service users are taught to use skills in the categories of change and acceptance. As previously mentioned DBT skills groups are as follows: 1. Mindfulness Skills 2. Emotion Regulation Skills 3. Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills 4. Distress Tolerance Skills Mindfulness: The term “mindfulness” is used to refer to a psychological state of intentionally living with awareness in the present moment without judgment, as well as the practices that promote this awareness. Mindfulness Skills are the specific behaviors to practice in order to achieve mindfulness. They are at the core of all aspects of Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Although mindfulness is used in many different disciplines and cultivated through different means; DBT is focused on mindfulness that is developed through mindfulness practices—“practices that focus on training attention and awareness in order to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control and thereby foster general mental well-being and development and/or specific capacities such as calmness, clarity and concentration” (Walsh & Shapiro, 2006). The goals of DBT Mindfulness Skills group sessions are to teach the students/clients skills that can help them increase control of their minds, and skills that can help them experience reality as it is; which essentially lead to a reduction in pain, tensions and stress and increase a sense of happiness. Researchers theorize that mindfulness practice promotes awareness, decreases rumination and enhances attention capacities; these cognitive gains, in turn, contribute to effective emotion-regulation strategies. Emotion Regulation: DBT emotion regulation skills help the client learn to manage their feelings, which will enable them to better cope with the situation they’re in. The goals of the Emotion Regulation Skills are to: 1. Understand and name your own emotions. 2. Decrease the frequency of unwanted emotions 3. Decrease emotional vulnerability 4. Decrease emotional suffering By participating in this section of the skills groups, OMID girls will be gaining valuable lessons on noticing and naming their emotions, understanding biological factors that can make emotion regulation harder, understanding how the environment reinforces certain emotional highs or lows, myths about emotions and their ability to regulate emotions as well as ways to actually regulate and manage emotions in a way that enhances their life. Interpersonal Effectiveness: Interpersonal Effectiveness refers to the skills, which help us to attend to relationships, balance priorities versus demands, balance the ‘wants’ and ‘should’s and build a sense of mastery and self-respect. These skills will have a great impact on the every day lives of the OMID girls, as they focus on teaching and putting to practice tools which will help the girls communicate in a healthy way and will empower them to assert what they need and want in a respectful manner. It encourages you to manage conversations thoughtfully, rather than react impulsively and let your emotions dictate the course of interactions. The Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills are: 1. Objective effectiveness: Achieving the goal of the interaction 2. Relationship effectiveness: Achieving this goal without conflict 3. Self-respect effectiveness: Expressing your values and goals assertively but also with respect for the other party Distress Tolerance Skills: Unlike most other mental health treatments that focus on changing distressing events and situations, Dialectical Behavior Therapy focuses on finding meaning for, accepting and tolerating distress. Distress Tolerance skills are used when it is difficult or impossible to change a situation; they help individuals cope, tolerate and survive a crisis or short term/long term distress (physical or emotional) skilfully. Mindfulness skills are the core of distress tolerance skills because they are the foundation of cultivating the ability to accept, in a non-evaluative and nonjudgmental fashion, both oneself and the current situation. Distress tolerance behaviors focus on teaching individuals about tolerating and surviving crises as well as with accepting life as it is in the moment. The goals of distress tolerance skills are to: 1. Survive a crisis situation without making it worse 2. Accept reality; to replace suffering and being “stuck” with ordinary pain and the possibility of moving forward 3. Becoming free of having to satisfy the demands of your own desires, urges and intense emotions. It is safe to say that most people have found themselves, at one time or another, in a crisis, conflict, distressing event or feeling overwhelmed by emotion and circumstances. It can be distressing trying to maintain emotional balance while finding a way to navigate through those stressful times. For many of the girls at OMID, repetitive stressful events and an inability to recover fully from one event before another occurs has resulted in broken relationships, destructive behaviors, such as self-injury and suicide attempts, dissociation with reality and an inability to experience life fully. The four skills modules that the OMID team are being trained in, are designed to specifically assist the girls at OMID better manage their emotions, behaviors and thoughts. Through the DBT skills groups, OMID girls can gain valuable tools that can enable them to stride towards a life that is more meaningful and balanced. One in which they can begin to access their own emotions, become more aware of the state of their mind and body, become empowered to regulate their emotions and build strong interpersonal relationships as well as gain the ability to tolerate distress so that they may embark on the journey of healing from trauma. Thanks to Sherry Tehrani for this detailed insight about DBT and OMID. A further update from the final training module will follow later next month.