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Author Topic: 6.12 | Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)  (Read 14665 times)
DeityorDevil
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« on: June 24, 2011, 08:03:30 PM »

TOOLS: Understanding DBT from the Inside Out

An Introduction to Mindfulness


What is DBT?
<br/>:)BT (dialectical behavioral therapy) is a form of cognitive behavior therapy, which is a branch of psychotherapy that focuses on bringing together (obviously) behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy.

Behavioral therapy comes from classical conditioning to encourage positive behavior and eliminate negative behavior. Shocking a rat who goes down the wrong path in a maze, and rewarding them with cheese for finding the right path, or conditioned Pavlovian responses are both examples of behavioral therapies. Behavioral therapy can be useful for breaking thought patterns and encouraging good behavior, but doesn’t do a whole lot for emotional problems.

Cognitive therapy is much more internally focused, in which the therapist seeks to help the patient change problematic thoughts. Often the therapist will challenge the patient’s flawed assumptions and encourage them to change problematic thought loops. The concept is that over time, changing assumptions and the resultant changed behaviors will result in overall reduction of negative feelings.

The dialectical aspect of DBT comes from the balance of these two schools of thought, changing behaviors along with thought patterns; as well as balancing the dialect of radical acceptance paired with dynamic change. Loosely put, you’re okay just as you are, and here’s what you can do to get better. Without any acceptance of self, there is little reason to hope for someone to believe they, or their situation, are worthy of improvement. The belief that one is hopelessly bad or that their situation is impossible, can be one of the greatest inhibitors to progress, because it provides a fallback position from which to reject any kind of treatment.

Getting Started with Mindfulness
<br/>:)BT addresses this initial argument with the first module in the program, Mindfulness. It’s simply not possible to accept what one is not aware of, and this module focuses closely on living in the present moment, even when it sucks, becoming aware of one’s actions and reactions, and how they affect our lives in the present. Mindfulness brings in many concepts of Zen Buddhism, and it’s not uncommon for people who have been through a complete course of DBT to come out the other end a little Zen-flavored. The other modules, which will be addressed later, are Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance. Mindfulness is where we find our acceptance for our situations and ourselves, and serves as the foundation for these later modules.

My personal experience with DBT is also a little different than the “traditional” DBT program, which generally involves a group therapy work in addition to one on one time with a therapist or DBT practitioner. My program has consisted of DBT, combined with more traditional cognitive behavioral therapy with individual therapists, and group 12-step meetings.  I’ve been through the DBT program over the course of the last three years and at this point am no longer diagnosed with Borderline personality disorder. Actually I'm no longer diagnosed with a handful of things, including paranoid personality disorder and avoidant personality disorder.

My participation on the boards has been as the child of a person with borderline, my current therapist was the one to suggest that my mother most likely has borderline, and that my father most likely had antisocial personality disorder. I still work with a therapist to help me address that side of my past and upbringing. My therapy now is much more related to my immediate personal life and remaining balanced, rather than learning how to be human. I'll be drawing mostly on my own experience as well as professional resources and literature in conducting this workshop.

Mindfulness is probably the single most beneficial idea I’ve taken from my own therapy. So often I would find myself tangled up inside my own head, confused about what I wanted, what I was trying to achieve, trying to control how I felt and failing, and unable to see why that wasn’t working. Mindfulness applies to everyone, because the primary concern of being mindful is being you, right now, in your real life, in your real reality.

This Workshop Is about You

In this workshop we’ll go over some of the basics of Mindfulness, covering the objectives of being mindful, the three states of mind and how to be “one-mindful,” and how to practice being mindful, and why it helps. Most importantly, this workshop is all about you.

Before we get started, a few opening questions:

-   How familiar are you with Dialectical Behavior Therapy?  

-   How familiar are you with the concept of Mindfulness? No familiarity whatsoever is also totally ok!  

-   Is there anything you currently do to try to “stay in the present?” Is there anything specific you would like to improve upon?

-   What are you motivations for participating in this workshop? What do you hope to get out of it?
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2011, 08:31:41 AM »

Will you continue with this workshop?

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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2011, 09:30:43 AM »

-   How familiar are you with Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

I don't do DBT, I think I am doing trauma therapy.  I believe it is a mixture between CBT and psychodynamic.  I find it very helpful.  I think the stages are:

1) stabilizing and managing responses

2) processing and grieving traumatic memories

3) reconnecting with the world

However I am interested in DBT and have heard it is very helpful for a variety of issues, some of which I struggle with.  But besides reading a bit here and there, I dont know much about it


-   How familiar are you with the concept of Mindfulness?

My T strongly encourages mindfulness actually and it has been very helpful.  She has taught me a few things and I have begun yoga on my own.  I find it helpful in managing anxiety and dissociation.  

-   Is there anything you currently do to try to “stay in the present?” Is there anything specific you would like to improve upon?

For extreme anxiety I do this one where I use my 3 senses and talk about it.  I see my pink toenail, I hear the fan, I feel the cool blanket... .over and over and over out loud... .

I do breathing meditation

I dissociate a lot in church so I really try to listen to the tone of the minister's voice, that helps (it also happens to be soothing)

Yoga

I would like to improve meditation and short mindfulness practices... .and knowing when I need them.  When the negative mental track comes on I do a stop sign, and am supposed to follow it with mindfulness but I don't always.

-   What are you motivations for participating in this workshop? What do you hope to get out of it?

I think it would be interesting to follow, and I am impressed with your progress DD so I would like to know some of what you have learned.  I also really know mindfulness is an amazing tool and would love to improve.
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« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2011, 12:12:10 PM »

Before we get started, a few opening questions:

-   How familiar are you with Dialectical Behavior Therapy?  

I understand dialectical from a philosophical perspective, from logic, and from set theory, and I consider these to have had their historical precedents/underpinnings/1st expressions (in "civilization" in the Vedanta of India and the Taoism of China. I (unfortunately) understand behavior in the context of Skinner and of the social propagandists like Bernays (Freud's nephew) who regard people as manipulable. I understand ("hear" therapy as the recovery to usefulness of lost or suspended faculties, whether these be of movement, mind, etc.



-   How familiar are you with the concept of Mindfulness? No familiarity whatsoever is also totally ok!

Conceptually I'm very familiar with "mindfulness," but from a dialectical and meditative context of emptiness and not from a "strictly" (and also borrowed) psychological perspective. To say it another way, mind-fullness is for me the obstacle to any real knowing and awareness, not to mention to any capacity for growth, learning, adaptability, flexibility, or recognition of change, etc., which are all "indices" of "health." I consider that to the extent that we are mind-full is the degree to which we are not fully aware and "in the present" (although "are the present" would be more accurate--even the subject/object distinction of language, and of our habit of thought, is an unfortunate and ultimately untenable proposition, and sumthin that I sumtimes think renders us "schizophrenic" and forced to live under a subliminal form of madness).

Oh, but I'm supposed to say that I understand what is meant by mindfulness rather than by mind-fullness. And to me that's what's interesting.


 

-   Is there anything you currently do to try to “stay in the present?” Is there anything specific you would like to improve upon?

Yes. I occasionally forget that I'm trying to "stay in the present," and even that "I" and the "present" are separable.


 

-   What are you motivations for participating in this workshop? What do you hope to get out of it?

Sorry. I didn't know that I was participating in the workshop. I thought that I was just bein asked to reply to a new thread. And ultimately it will be others who will decide whether I'm participating or no.

LW

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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2011, 01:49:36 PM »

Practicing mindfulness is just that - practice. Something you keep working on moment by moment. Practice is how you become better at something.

Me personally? I need to practice it too 

Looking forward to what others have to say... .
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2011, 01:57:09 PM »

Excerpt
Will you continue with this workshop?

Yes. Smiling (click to insert in post) I have a lot of material, and exercises that people can do/use to practice being mindful, and hopefully that is helpful for folks. Eventually the plan is to go through all four modules (Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Interpersonal Effectiveness, and Emotion Regulation) so that the board will have a full set of the working principles of DBT, what it is, sort of how it works. I'm not a doctor- by any stretch of the imagination, but many of the principles and practices can be helpful on their own, or as maintenance for people who do have some familiarity with DBT.  

Excerpt
For extreme anxiety I do this one where I use my 3 senses and talk about it.  I see my pink toenail, I hear the fan, I feel the cool blanket... .over and over and over out loud... .

I do breathing meditation

I dissociate a lot in church so I really try to listen to the tone of the minister's voice, that helps (it also happens to be soothing)

Yoga

These are all really excellent examples! They're also really similar to some of the exercises I was taught initially in therapy to be mindful of my surroundings and myself, and some of the exercises I'm planning to introduce to help folks get more familiar with mindfulness.

Excerpt
Sorry. I didn't know that I was participating in the workshop. I thought that I was just bein asked to reply to a new thread. And ultimately it will be others who will decide whether I'm participating or no.

I'd love to have whoever feels inclined participate and share their thoughts. A good deal of the ideas take repetition and "homework" so whatever you get out of the discussion works for me, however you feel like defining your participation.

I also struggle with mind-fullness as well, and having a lot going on in my brainspace, practicing being mindful, or single-minded helps me with that a lot.

Excerpt
Practicing mindfulness is just that - practice. Something you keep working on moment by moment.

If you're really being mindful, this is the only way to do it. each moment is different Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2011, 02:08:32 PM »

Thank you so much for providing a framework and practical support to "do" DBT rather than just read about it.

-   How familiar are you with Dialectical Behavior Therapy? I have read Marsha L. book, looked at each of the modules, but don't practice enough when I am calm to use it when I am stressed.

-   How familiar are you with the concept of Mindfulness? Getting there. The non-judgement part is hard for me.

-   Is there anything you currently do to try to “stay in the present?” Is there anything specific you would like to improve upon? I like the pink toenail idea!  I worry about the future waaaaaaaay too much.

-   What are you motivations for participating in this workshop? What do you hope to get out of it? Learn when I am getting stressed out and being able to stop it from becoming overwhelming for me. I hope to become proficient in mindfulness so I can use it!

Bongo

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« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2011, 03:52:07 PM »

You have done great work in putting this workshop together, DD!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

-   How familiar are you with Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

I am familiar with some of the basics only.

-   How familiar are you with the concept of Mindfulness? I have tried practising it (not very successfully as I am easily distracted) and would like to practice it more.  

-   Is there anything you currently do to try to “stay in the present?

I try and not worry too much about the future and I don't do this too much but don't really do anything to stay in the present apart from the few attempts at practising mindfullness.  

- What are you motivations for participating in this workshop? What do you hope to get out of it?

I would like to learn some simple techniques about how to practice mindfullness.
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« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2011, 04:36:56 PM »

How familiar are you with Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Very. ON a personal level, my H recovered completely from BPD via DBT and I was working with a family therapist as a client who taught me DBT and used it in r/s to my H. We also saw a MC who was DBT skilled and used it in MC. Professionally, I worked as a psychiatric nurse for many years, including using DBT skills with clients who were addicts with BPD

.only

I am familiar with some of the basics you with the concept of Mindfulness?

I have been aware of it and practiced it for years. It takes practice and it takes mindfulness to remember to be mindful  

-   Is there anything you currently do to try to “stay in the present?

   I use the skill of mindfulness, also meditation and writing.

- What are you motivations for participating in this workshop? What do you hope to get out of it?

I would like Support and encourage others which always is encouraging and supportive of my own journey
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« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2011, 06:20:27 PM »

Practicing mindfulness is just that - practice. Something you keep working on moment by moment. Practice is how you become better at something.

Umm... .thanks?  Smiling (click to insert in post) I guess if I don't know what practice means that I haven't a prayer of understandin mindfulness?   Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)  Nevertheless, my question still stands--what is mindfulness?

(And this is what I meant by others determinin whether I'm "participatin" or no. I wasn't bein sarcastic, etc. Someone was once asked whether they believed in god. Their response, "If you do then I probably don't, and if you don't then I probably do." If others find me distractin or difficult I'll gladly bow out, but neither do I see any point in proceedin if we're all just supposed to pretend that we know what mindfulness means or, maybe worse still, that we're supposed to assume that it means the same thing for everyone. That said, and unless told otherwise, I'll be stickin around to explore this. Thank you DeityorDevil, for the undertaking, and for the patience with me that you've already demonstrated. Know that I'm always tryin to be constructive, even when I'm bein deconstructive. And isn't that the essence of the dialectic? I beg just a little indulgence.)
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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2011, 06:29:28 PM »

-   How familiar are you with Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

I have been hearing of it here.

 

-   How familiar are you with the concept of minfullness?

My T is trying to teach it to me.  I am practicing observe, describe, participate this week.  I am finding it difficult.  I took some meditation classes in the past. 

 

-   Is there anything you currently do to try to “stay in the present?” Is there anything specific you would like to improve upon?

I don't plan a lot of things because this tends to take me away from the present.  I'm not sure this actually works well.

-   What are you motivations for participating in this workshop? What do you hope to get out of it?

Better understanding of DBT, help with mindfulness, peace.
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« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2011, 06:32:06 PM »

-   How familiar are you with Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Some, from grad school classes and here.  A friend who is a social worker has been trained in this.

-   How familiar are you with the concept of Mindfulness?

Only from some reading on here.  I am so easily distracted right now, I am forcing my brain

to do this, my brain is saying to "veg out and watch TV"  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)   I really do want to do this, I have wanted to start for some time now.  

-   Is there anything you currently do to try to “stay in the present?

I can sit and blank out, stare at something generic and be there for hours is not interrupted.  But anxious thoughts sneak in about things I need to do.

- What are you motivations for participating in this workshop? What do you hope to get out of it?

My mind needs some focus.  I think I will accomplish so much more and be more relaxed.

Thanks for this workshop DoD  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2011, 09:16:45 PM »

So here's a question.  If you do succeed in being mindful, being in the moment and staying in the present, what about all those things you need to do to survive.  How do you pay the bills, plan your future, figure out what to do next? 

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« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2011, 09:39:45 PM »



My favorite book definition of mindfulness comes from Hardcore Zen by Brad Warner (a punk musician cum Buddhist priest) that describes mindfulness thusly: "Being “mindful,” to most people, means bringing “me” into the situation. “I” am mindfully reading this book. This is a mistake. To paraphrase a line in Dogen’s Shobogenzo, real mindfulness includes you being mindful of the book, the book being mindful of you, you being mindful of you, and the book being mindful of the book. In real mindfulness, book and reader disappear completely, mind and body disappear completely. There is nothing to be aware of and no one to do it. Awareness pervades everything, awareness itself is people and books, and the smell of burning tar, the songs of birds, and all the rest."

So was I near the mark then with this?

 

-   Is there anything you currently do to try to “stay in the present?” Is there anything specific you would like to improve upon?

Yes. I occasionally forget that I'm trying to "stay in the present," and even that "I" and the "present" are separable.

(I've read Dogen's Shobogenzo and he even has sum critics, those who complain that he's given everythin away. I would definitely recommend it. )

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« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2011, 12:45:29 AM »

I think you were pretty close, yes. {Brief aside, Shobogenzo is on my to-read list. Smiling (click to insert in post) }

Next up: Actual exercises to start practicing mindfulness. I think a lot of pieces there will start to fall into place once we get in to exercises. As with most abstract kinds of ideas, a little practice can be much more helpful than talking about theory ad nauseum.

For the exercises I'm going to pull from my own notes as well as the DBT Skills Workbook, and other sources as they're pertinent.
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« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2011, 12:55:02 AM »

Before we get started, a few opening questions:

-   How familiar are you with Dialectical Behavior Therapy? 

I have done several things to study these tools, though still stuggle to practice them consistently. THis work has so improved my ability to remain calm and centered in drama of life with pwBPD - DD25.  Have read articles here, worked in adult DBT workbook on my own and for parenting an child (my gd6), took 8 week overview class for parents/teens on concepts which helped pull it all together somewhat for me.

Excerpt
-   How familiar are you with the concept of Mindfulness? No familiarity whatsoever is also totally ok! 



Get the concepts intellectually but struggle to put them into practice consistently. Could not just spout off the top of my head without referring to notes. Think I do use these skills more and more even without "knowing" it since my life is overall working better.

Excerpt
-   Is there anything you currently do to try to “stay in the present?” Is there anything specific you would like to improve upon?

Lots of deep breathing - saying stop and think to myself - saying 'one day at a time' to myself or outloud to someone else - being more aware of obssessive thinking or ruminating and chattering to fill an uncomfortable quiet - chatter leads to drama with pwBPD and others in family.


Excerpt
-   What are you motivations for participating in this workshop? What do you hope to get out of it?

More repetition I can have with learning and understanding ways to apply this practive in my day to day life can only help me keep on track to the peaceful life that is one of my main goals.

Thanks for this workshop, and the ones to follow.

qcr xoxo
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« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2011, 01:10:43 AM »

A helpful explanation of Mindfulness... .based on the book

"Wherever you go, there you are"

By Jon Kabat-Sinner

I started a daily post that explore Mindfulness here

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=124333.msg1224784#msg1224784
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« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2011, 03:43:21 AM »

Thank you for offering this Workshop. Thank you, united for now for the link to Mindfulness quotes from the "Wherever you go, there you are" book.

Answers:

1. DBT: I'm not very familiar with DBT and I couldn't have explained it. I think the behavioral part of DBT is easier to attain. 

2. Mindfulness/questions: I'm familiar with mindfulness and very aware of living in the moment. I think about the quality of my day and seeing my choices. I do wonder about the obstacle of frequent cynical messages in my head.

3. - Motivations/Hoping to get what out of it: I have wanted to learn about DBT. I'd like to participate to see how assumptions get modified, especially those rooted in childhood experiences, or, is that where all of them originated?
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« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2011, 01:27:28 PM »

Thank you for offering this Workshop. Thank you, united for now for the link to Mindfulness quotes from the "Wherever you go, there you are" book.

Answers:

1. DBT: No first hand knowlege. I had hoped my uBPDw would try but since she doesn't see that she has a problem it make be a while.

2. Mindfulness/questions: Combination of mindfulness and buddhist wisdom that got me through my own personal hell,  depression and devastation. Helps keep me grounded. No formal teaching

just reading and being open to new ideas and experiences.

3. - Motivations / Hoping to get what out of it: I got my life back, I feel I am in a more peaceful time in my life. I  feel in touch with my feelings (something hadn't a clue about before). 


I read a book on Bhuddist wisdom called "The Buddha is still Teaching" by Jack Kornfield.

I took what I need from it at the time and I will go back and read it again and again.

My philosophy:

Be good and true to myself. I look after myself now first and formost.

Cling to nothing. This is a universal truth in my life. I let go of my uBPDw. I still felt pain be I healed a lot quicker by letting go.

Be compassionate.

I am not limited by a passing experience.

I take joy in the welfare of others. 

I cherish the wellbeing of others.

Chaos is extremely good news, embrace it, it is an opportunity to grow, without is I will not reach my full potential.

Practice tolerance.

I have learnt to surrender my personal hopes and expectations.

Live in the present.

I am open to my own emotions, I sit with them, I do not always understand why a particular emotion is present but i chose to sit with it, let it wash over me and experience it, I try not to understands it. It is whatever it is and it is the right emotion for me at that time.

I understand the mind is all stories. Thinking makes it so.

The problems I see are because I choose to "think".

My emotional world (my pain, my grief, my sadness and my joy etc) are all specific and personal to me.

My emotional world (my pain, my grief, my sadness and my joy etc) are all universal as pain, grief, sadnessand joy are universal. At some time we all experience loss it is the nature of our existence, no one is immune to it.

We are spiritual Creatures living a human existence.

I let lifes events unfold naturally.

I vow never to lose sight of who I am. I chose to be happy and to live my life with a smile on my face.

I use meditation to relax, find, peace, clear my mind. I find it both relaxing and at times energising.

I realise I have in intellectual self, an emotional self, a spititual self and a physical self. If these part of me are in balance then I an doing ok. If I neglet one even for a few days then I am out of balence and not at my full potential.

Past and future times are nowhere to be found.

Past = a memory

Future = an "anticipated" illusion.

Neither the past nor the future exist in reality.

I live my life in the present moment. The here and now. I teach this to my children and they have gained huge strength from this one wisdom.

I do not know what is in my subconcious but I view it like sitting on the shores of an ocean and slowly, patiently experiencing one wave at a time. Reflecting on each indevidual wave as it washes up on the shore.

This is not to say i do not feel anger. I now realise that anger is a healthy emotion. I realise that when I feel angry it means I have suffered a hurt, an injustice,  a fear, a frustration or a fear. Violated boundaries are the main reason I feel angry now. How I choose to react to my anger is up to me. I hold on to this power. I now use anger to calmly set new set boundaries.   

I believe everything is as it is meant to be.

I listent to my heart. It is like having a spirit guide that shows me the path of my life's journey.

Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)  

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« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2011, 02:04:02 PM »

Excerpt
So here's a question.  If you do succeed in being mindful, being in the moment and staying in the present, what about all those things you need to do to survive.  How do you pay the bills, plan your future, figure out what to do next? 

Being mindful, and living in the moment, doesn't mean not preparing for the future. I still have a savings account, and insurance for "in case ___" happens. Mindfulness- as a vehicle to attain a close working relationship with reality- means being aware of the reality that we all got bills to pay, need to eat, sleep, maintain the body while we're in it, etc. For me being mindful helps as motivation, if I'm being mindful while I'm paying bills (zzzz) I can gripe about the chore, or focus on the fact that I'm being a responsible grown-up type person, maintaining my household, taking care of my family- all positive things which make the chore not suck so much. Buddhists talk a lot about "truth" which is (as I understand it) another way of simply recognizing "This is how things are." When I struggle with decisions, it's usually me struggling with my idea of how I think things "should" be, or trying to future-trip on something, rather than looking at them as they are. Clear as mud? Smiling (click to insert in post) Hopefully some of this stuff will become clearer as we move on.

Excerpt
@MindfulJavaJoe

Combination of mindfulness and buddhist wisdom that got me through my own personal hell,  depression and devastation. Helps keep me grounded. No formal teaching just reading and being open to new ideas and experiences.

As you've already gathered, mindfulness can be super Zen. It sounds like a lot of these principles have been really helpful for you, hopefully the exercises I have planned can provide some more tools to keep this going for you.
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« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2011, 02:59:00 PM »

Exercises in Mindfulness

We've talked some about what mindfulness "is." Some of the key points brought up are:



  • Something you keep working on moment by moment.


  • non-judgement


  • It takes practice and it takes mindfulness to remember to be mindful


  • being in the moment and staying in the present


  • Past and future times are nowhere to be found.




Put together, we get something like: Mindfulness is the continual practice of living and embracing the present moment- rather than the past or future- without judgment.


Being Un-mindful

To get a start at how being mindful can be helpful, it might be good to examine some of the detriments of being "unmindful" about some pretty neutral topics. (These examples are taken from the DBT Skills Workbook)

Have you ever done the following?

- While having a conversation, you’re already thinking about what you’re going to say next before the other person has even stopped speaking.

- While taking a shower, you’re already planning what you have to do later and then you forget if you’ve already washed your hair or some other body part.

- While driving or traveling, you don’t remember the experience or which roads you took.



  • Can you think of any other examples of un-mindfulness?


  • What might be the effects of these, or your own examples?


  • Not surprisingly, these examples all begin with "While hit... ." do you think it is possible to be mindful of one thing while doing another? Why or why not?




Exercise: Timed Mindfulness

Don't worry, it's not a test! Just an exercise. Smiling (click to insert in post)

This is a good exercise for getting in touch with time as it exists, rather than how we perceive it. I'm sure most of us have had the experience of waiting in a meeting or a classroom staring at the clock and every second feels like an eternity. Or the opposite experience of being out and having a good time, and several hours click by in the blink of an eye. In the words of Soren Kierkegaard, "Most [people] pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it." This exercise may help you see if your perception of time matches time as it exists, and do less hurrying past pleasure, and more finding it where you are.

Ingredients

- A timing device. (Online Stopwatch, if you don't want to rummage through the kitchen for one.)

- You

Getting Started

Find a reasonably quiet place where you feel comfortable. At least somewhere that you can sit for a minute without being disturbed. It may be helpful to stake out a place as "yours" for meditation and quiet, as there will be a lot of that in this workshop. Everyone deserves their slice of peace and quiet in the world, and defining it is both justified, and necessary for peace of mind. It may be helpful to set up cushions, if you're sitting on the floor, and have a glass of water nearby for after you've finished your exercises. (I don't know about y'all, but thinking always seems to make me feel thirsty.) Free your space from distractions as much as possible, if you can, shut off the phone or noise-producing gadgets that most of us tend to carry around.

Practice

Seat yourself comfortably and take a few slow breaths. Start the stopwatch and close your eyes. Focus on your breaths and try to relax for whatever feels like one minute to you. When you feel like a minute has passed, open your eyes and stop the stopwatch.

Questions

Answering any questions on here is completely voluntary. If you're more comfortable writing them down in a personal log, or simply thinking about them, that is totally okay. This is all about you, and what is helpful for you. I'll share my own experiences as we go along.



  • How much time passed? Was it more or less than a minute?


  • If it was much less than a minute, how might that affect how you plan out your day? Does it often feel like there is not enough time for everything you want to accomplish?


  • If it was much more than a minute, how might that have a different effect? Do you find that you often think you have more time than you do?


  • How might being more "in tune" with the passage of time be helpful in planning your day? In enjoying happy times? In coping with stressful times?




More... .

- For more practice with this exercise, repeat it periodically as we move through additional exercises. Note how your experience with time changes.

- Try estimating five, or ten minutes. How does your estimation match up to longer periods of time?
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« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2011, 10:17:11 PM »

At Bay Sun 6 /26:

1 min., 20 sec. passed and I enjoyed being more aware. I always think I have more time than I actually do have. I must allow extra time for getting out of the house, or be sorry.

Strangely, I paid attention to the position of my feet and made myself more comfortable. Same for my arms which felt heavy. I'd worked in closets moving out some books I want to sell. Reminded me I got a lot done. My mind didn't jump to other tasks yet to be done before I go to bed. Being still was enough to do and I liked that feeling.

2nd try for 10 min: Thought 10 min. was shorter than it turned out to be. Couldn't help but count it off and could not concentrate. Rushing does not work out for me. Interesting.
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« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2011, 12:35:36 AM »

Thank you for opening my eyes to the other side of mindfulness. Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

I really like the idea of being aware of the times when we are being unmindful. So much of modern day living is lived like this. We barely have time to think, to listen or to enjoy.

So much of the good stuff of life can pass us by. If we stay in the present the we have a much better chance of experiencing the richness and the textures of our existence as opposed the a shallow existence we call living.



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« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2011, 06:53:42 AM »

Example of unmindful activities:  Something happens to me when I get home from work--I just want to eat. I jump right into a few Oreos, start dinner, turn on the TV, call my sister, blah blah, blah---6 things at once!  I have to eat several more Oreos (because I was not paying attention when the first couple were going in and I missed it).

Jeeezzz. Wow. Multitasking and bounding quickly around life were things I was proud of... .this is a challenge for me. I know I need to do this.

I flipped to Youtube to watch Jon Kabut talk about mindfulness and I kept finding myself doing something else as I watched... .but I followed the advice to notice, turn it around and start again.

I made the sitting exercise less than 2 minutes   I guess I have to start somewhere.

My inspiration comes from certain people who have come into my life at times and they are so MINDFUL. They are rarely in a hurry-they are so intentional about small and large things. They have a serenity that calms me. I want it!  I will keep trying.

Thanks so much for this wonderful thread!
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« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2011, 11:47:36 AM »

Before we get started, a few opening questions:

-   How familiar are you with Dialectical Behavior Therapy? 

I don't know much about

-   How familiar are you with the concept of Mindfulness? No familiarity whatsoever is also totally ok!

I have studied some things related to this.  I have practiced it to some degree on my own and have gotten good at leaving out the past but I find my mind always working in the future. 

-   Is there anything you currently do to try to “stay in the present?” Is there anything specific you would like to improve upon?

Nothing in particular or not following any guidelines.  I notice when my mind is wandering adn I struggle to stay present some times.

-   What are you motivations for participating in this workshop? What do you hope to get out of it?

Two things - my BPDhusband will hopefully agree to start DBT soon and I imagine I can be more supportive if I understand it.  I am always open to improving myself.
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« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2011, 09:44:14 PM »

Excerpt
-   How familiar are you with Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

I am familiar with the concept, and did do some therapy that was both thought and behavior changing.  I've had very liimited experience with group therapy.  I know that Marsha Linehan, along with some colleagues added an acceptance and validation component to the original DBT.
Excerpt
-   How familiar are you with the concept of Mindfulness? No familiarity whatsoever is also totally ok!

I know that it is 'living in the present'.  Being aware.  

Excerpt
-   Is there anything you currently do to try to “stay in the present?” Is there anything specific you would like to improve upon?

When I am starting to feel overwhelmed, I try to find a place to sit where I can easily think about vision expanding outward.  I think about what is going on in the house next to me.  I think how each person in each house has their own set of problems.  And I am but one of those people.  I continue expanding my vision outward thinking of nature, infrastructure, and more people, until I feel myself as just part of the world.  This serves to reset my thoughts and allows me to think more 'in the present'.  

At night, if my thoughts are too scattered, I will close my eyes and imagine a large dark grey plate which encompasses my whole area of vision.  Then I imagine a small black dot in the center of the plate, and I do my best to concentrate on that black dot.  It helps to clear my thoughts and reset back to the present moment.

I hope to continue to improve my ability to let go and increase my awareness of each moment.  

Excerpt
-   What are you motivations for participating in this workshop? What do you hope to get out of it?

I hope to learn more techniques for worrying less.

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« Reply #26 on: June 28, 2011, 01:12:00 PM »

On being "Un-mindful"

My own example of "unmindfulness" actually comes from this last Saturday (hey, I'm still a work in progress and I definitely don't qualify for Zen master status.) I was making coffee, which for me is 4 shots of espresso and some milk. I made two shots, and emptied the espresso cup, turned around... .no clue where those shots went. The glasses I use to measure them were empty, and my mug was empty, no clue what happened. Still no clue haha. Consequence is I ended up using more coffee and time than I had wanted to, and hopefully I just dumped them in the sink, and I won't find a measuring cup with coffee sitting in it a week from now... .This is also related to me not getting enough sleep, and not having the attention to be mindful.

For me, because I tend to be kind of spacey by nature, practicing mindfulness is really important, because this kind of stuff happens to me all the time when I'm not. I can be mid sentence with myself, and lose track of what I wanted to say. I tend to prefer communicating in writing for that reason, it forces midfulness and word choice in ways that are easy for me to skip past when communicating verbally. I'm not a terribly good cook for the same reason, if I can't set a timer for something and have to watch it, I tend to burn things, because I start cooking and then wander off to do something else and forget I was cooking. The smoke alarm is not actually a timer, who knew?  

I'm not sure if it's possible to be mindful of many things at once. If I'm really "in the zone" with mindfulness, I tend to experience everything going on as "one thing" part of "one moment."




Practice: Timed Mindfulness

Historically, this is a very hard exercise for me. Once again, I space out easily and lose track of time. The first time I attempted this exercise I think I ended up sitting for about four and a half minutes because I forgot what I was doing. I panicked because I was "doing it wrong" and tried again, and lasted about 20 seconds because I was too jittery and panicky to sit for more than that. After going back and forth that way, my therapist suggested that I try it in his office when I was calm, or at my sponsor's house when I was over there and a little more relaxed.

I've gotten better at it over time, although if I'm stressed out my perception of time tends to skew a little again. I usually have my ipod around me which has timers and clocks so that I can set alarms if I am feeling stressed or anxious and still need to be places on time. Although not to the same extent that I used to. Setting timers was also part of breaking some OCD habits for me, for things that still need done, just don't need 2 hours to do them, like washing dishes.

When I do this exercise now, I sat down for a while on Sunday for both short and longer spans. The one minute exercise ended up at about 1:10 the first time and 0:58 the second (so close! haha) Longer time periods are still more difficult, although usually I can get to within 30 seconds of the five minute period, and within a minute of the ten minute period, which is close enough for me. Smiling (click to insert in post) I tend to prefer longer periods of meditation, for 20 or 30 minutes, but I set a timer for those.
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« Reply #27 on: June 29, 2011, 01:46:09 AM »

I'm excited to participate in this!

****************************

-   How familiar are you with Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

quite frankly I don't know much more other than it is used in the treatment of BPD as well as other mental illnesses and works to help "re-frame" a persons root behaviors

-   How familiar are you with the concept of Mindfulness?

My counselor has been talking and working with me on this and I find it very helpful!  she approached it in the framework of working through triggers and bringing myself back to the present but I find that taking moments out of my actions to appreciate the "moment" has been something i  used to do, before I got involved with my ExBPDso and lost myself.  I'm enjoying returning to that person.

-   Is there anything you currently do to try to “stay in the present?” Is there anything specific you would like to improve upon?

In order to really stay in the present I focus on something in the room/around me and describe it in as much detail as possible in my head (or out loud if it's around my friend that I am open with things about).  I also have a very good family and friend support group that are welcoming of me taking a moment out of a conversation to say "I just want to share that I'm having such a good time right now" or "this moment is really wonderful, I feel very comfortable and I hope you all do too!".

-   What are you motivations for participating in this workshop? What do you hope to get out of it?

I would like to understand my OWN motivations for my behavior and help move away from a lot of my negative self talk surrounding relationships and my past choices.  I would also like to work through a lot of the remaining feelings/memories from my ex that I am struggling to let go of.
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« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2011, 04:17:57 AM »

At Bay Wed 6/29

Un-mindfulness vs. mindfulness:

Being retired -- every day can be Saturday usually if you want it to be. Problem is having control over every minute of my day can becomes what they call set in your ways. Intrusion is to be avoided religiously. I don't even like bringing in the mail (unpredictable). Forget answering the phone (unpredictable and urgent).

But when the outside world intrudes with some event I must attend, or people want to come over, my un-mindfulness is a shock to my system. Check times and details compulsively and wish I'd never been born. OK, I don't like it much. When it is over I did enjoy people and have no regrets. But the following day I'm back living in moment like a vacation from intrusion. No, I don't live alone, but live parallel lives as it is called. Aside from being a captive audience on occasion, I'm not hindered.

Is it possible to confuse having this much mindfulness with something else like isolation? Does it count more when carved out of a busy day?


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« Reply #29 on: June 29, 2011, 12:16:47 PM »

Excerpt
My counselor has been talking and working with me on this and I find it very helpful!  she approached it in the framework of working through triggers and bringing myself back to the present but I find that taking moments out of my actions to appreciate the "moment" has been something i  used to do, before I got involved with my ExBPDso and lost myself.  I'm enjoying returning to that person.

This is a good call I think, on the part of your counselor. I was taught basically the same thing, and it's something I use with my sponsee as well in 12 step recovery when he's having a pity party. We call it a gratitude list, but basically it's sitting down and appreciating the present moment.

Excerpt
Is it possible to confuse having this much mindfulness with something else like isolation? Does it count more when carved out of a busy day?

Being mindful of the day isn't really the same as being in control of the day. Life, by nature, is unpredictable, and mindfulness can help to make that unpredictability more manageable, because an unpredictable moment, is still just a moment. And mindfulness is as much about our internal feelings and responses as it is taking in our surroundings and being aware of them. Most importantly, mindfulness counts all the time. There are Buddhist masters who spend hours every day being mindful, and I imagine it still counts to them.

It sounds like you might just be kind of introverted, and need time on your own to recharge, even though you enjoy time spent with people (just me guessing). At least, that's sort of what it sounds like to me. My partner and I are both fairly introverted, and I keep a pretty rigid schedule (lots of perceived control over my moments) and I still find mindfulness very helpful, especially as a means to recharge. I do find that I have to be careful about isolating, when I do find people tiring and unpredictability stressful and sometimes force myself out of my shell a little, just to keep some perspective on the outside world. I find it very hard to be mindful when I'm surrounded by people because I get overwhelmed pretty easily with that much stimuli. As we move on in the workshop, I wonder if it would be helpful for you to be especially mindful of how you feel when you've been around people, whether you enjoyed it or what your feelings were about it. Smiling (click to insert in post)
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