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Author Topic: 1.20 | Triggering, Mindfulness, and the WiseMind  (Read 85225 times)
Skip
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« on: October 28, 2007, 06:02:52 PM »

Triggering and Mindfulness and Wise Mind
 
What is mindfulness all about?  In the simplest sense, we all develop from time to time, thinking patterns that do not serve us well.  When we do, we are easily "triggered" -- having non-constructive reactions to specific words or actions based on prior experiences.  We've all been there - resentment, pessimism, defensiveness, impatience, closed mindedness, distrusting, intolerance, confrontational, defeated...
 
Mindfulness is a type of self-awareness in which we learn to observe ourselves in real time to see and alter our reactions to be more constructive.
 
Thought is the Building Block of Our Reality
 
Cogito ergo sum ( "I think, therefore I am" is a philosophical Latin statement proposed by René Descartes. This is one of those things that is so obvious, and so rarely considered. The world around us is what we perceive in our minds.  The blind man lives in a dark world.  A paranoid man lives in a fearful world.   A loving man lives in a loving world.  
 
We are how we think.
 
The Mind is a Friend, Lover, Torturer, and Teacher
 
Our mind is the source of all misery and of all pleasure. People don’t effectively hurt our feelings or inspire us. People can offer us their opinions,  it is only that which the mind decides has any relevance that we take on for ourselves.  Only the mind that can complement us, insult us, lift us, or destroy us.
 
We can influence this.
 
Reasonable/Logical mind, Wise Mind, Emotion Mind
 
Wise Mind is that place where reasonable mind and emotion mind overlap.  It is the integration of emotion mind and reasonable/logical mind.
 

 
The goals of mindfulness practice are simply to practice and to experience “Wise Mind”. You’re in Wise Mind when your emotions and your thoughts work together so that wise action is easy, even when your life and/or circumstances are really hard. You’re in Wise Mind when you can meet each moment of life as it is, not as you would have it be, and respond to it skillfully.
 
Notice that we’re not saying the goal of mindfulness practice is happiness or having a life free from trouble or having an experience of nonstop joy. However, people who practice mindfulness will tell you that they get better at enduring pain, better at solving problems, better at not creating misery for themselves, and better at participating fully in those moments of life that are joyful.

How Do We Do This?
 
By paying attention to ourselves in real time. There are books written about this, but the short answer is to paying attention to yourself, observe yourself in a purposeful, in the present moment, and without immediately overlaying the old filters on the situation.
 
How Does This Help Us?
 
There are several ways that mindfulness can help reduce the intensity, duration, and frequency of unhelpful habitual response patterns.
 
  • Loosening the grip of habitual responses that cause (additional) suffering.

  • Slowing the pace of thoughts/reactions.

  • Reducing the intensity of unhelpful habitual responses.

  • Increasing the spaciousness of present awareness.

  • Noticing, enjoying and cultivating positive experiences and emotions

  • Making connections that weren't there before.  
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2007, 07:16:06 PM »

Thank you so much for this!

Mindfulness helps me realize that the only person I can ever change is myself.  And if I can learn to be a happier and healthier person, I'll serve as an excellent role model for my husband, so that he may find the courage and strength and wisdom to change himself for the better, too.  And even if he doesn't ever find that courage, I'll still be a better person, and that's pretty impressive in and of itself! :-)

There are books written about this, but the short answer is to paying attention to yourself, observe yourself in a purposeful, in the present moment, and without immediately overlaying the old filters on the situation.

I practice mindfulness and non-attachment.  It has made my life so much better, and helped me be a better person.  Marsha Linehan's Taking Hold of Your Mind is very helpful.  My favorite line is  "Cling to nothing. Attach to nothing. Let go of all you have invested in focusing on the borderline or trying to change the borderline. Just observe what you, yourself, are experiencing."

Taking Hold of Your Mind

Peace, love, and bicycles,

Turil
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2007, 02:17:16 PM »

LOVE this. Thank you!
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2007, 05:13:42 AM »

Using these tools has made my day to day life easier. It also helps with my PTSD.  So often as Nons we are in constant react mode. This helps us stay more focused and thoughtful.
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2007, 01:07:49 AM »

My therapist is teaching me this at the moment, I'm actually really surprised to see it mentioned here.

It's hard to do but it can work, well at least in calming you down so that the crap that is going on with you and your partner isn't so intense and when you can make it work, it helps with focusing so that you can take time out to respond rather than react.

Saying that,  I find I can only make it work sometimes, I'm still learning and struggle with it when things are really stressful.

I wanted to share a resource that my therapist introduced me to. It's by an Australian doctor that has written books and compiled guided mindfulness skills which I personally find really helpful. He also runs courses for psychologists and therapists to train them in teaching clients these skills. His name is Dr Russ Harris.  It's really good.

Mindfulness involves consciously bringing awareness to your here-and-now experience with openness, curiosity and flexibility.

Mindflness without Meditation (pdf)
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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2007, 03:39:30 AM »

Mindfulness and Wise Mind aren't about Meditation

"What is this thing called mindfulness? It is a practice of being awake, of participating in your life, of learning to inhabit your life. It is also a practice of becoming more intentional with your actions. This combines two vital aspects of mindfulness: attention and intention. With respect to emotion it's about becoming more mindful to - aware of - the emotions you experience, as you're experiencing them.



Mindfulness is something of a paradox. it is both easy and difficult. It is easy thanks to the fact you have all the necessary equipment with you wherever you go and nearly every situation in life presents you with an opportunity to practice. It's hard because so much of our world and our habits militate against it.

Believe it or not, this skill of mindfulness is a big help for sensitive people. Much of the psychological data and literature on emotional intelligence strongly suggests a relationship connecting awareness to emotion regulation. In DBT, the concept of mindfulness is borrowed from the  traditional meditation practices, but it isn't exactly meditation. You don't have to sit in the lotus position, or close your eyes, or fast, or change. There may be a time and place for those more formal practices, and I suggest you consider them. But right now, you can practice mindfulness skills in your everyday life that can be very helpful in regulating emotion.


Page 110, Coming to Our Senses by Kabat-Zinn

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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2007, 04:06:21 AM »

This 12 minute audio Amy Tibbitts, LSCSW discusses the dialectical dilemma. The dialectal dilemma is the invading feeling that results when applying logical thought to emotional responses at the time of the response. While she speaks in the context of a person with BPD, and how to respond to others constructively, she makes the point that over riding the emotional mind with logical mind creates an effect that is unsettling - a dialectal dilemma.

We are beat served not to leave these dialectal dilemma open and festering.  In WiseMind, we seek to solve thes - balance them - bring them into harmony.

Her 12 minute audio is here: /2011/04/untangling-internal-struggles-of.html
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2008, 11:36:15 AM »

Skip has often said "good mental health is hard".  Mental discipline is hard. We can't let emotions rule our life or let ourselves become so detached that we are not living.
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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2009, 09:19:28 AM »

I wanted to share STOPP

  • Stop! Say it to yourself, in your head, as soon as you notice your mind and/or your body is reacting to a trigger.

    Stop! helps to put in the space between the stimulus (the trigger, whatever we are reacting to) and our response.

    The earlier you use STOPP, the easier and more effective it will be.

  • Take a Breath.  reathing a little deeper and slower will calm down and reduce the physical reaction of emotion/adrenaline.

    Focusing on our breathing means we are not so focused on the thoughts and feelings of the distress, so that our minds can start to clear and we can think more logically and rationally.

  • Observe.  We can notice the thoughts going through our mind, we can notice what we feel in our body, and we can notice the urge to react in an impulsive way. We can notice the vicious cycle of anxiety, sadness or anger (etc).

    Noticing helps us to defuse from those thoughts and feelings and therefore reduce their power and control.

  • Pull back / Put in some Perspective.  The thought challenging of CBT. Thinking differently.

    When we step back emotionally from a situation, and start to see the bigger picture, it reduces those distressing beliefs. We can do this by asking ourselves questions.

  • Practice what works / Proceed.  This is the behavioral change of CBT. Doing things differently.

    Rather than reacting impulsively with unhelpful consequences, we can CHOOSE our more helpful and positive response.
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2009, 06:22:50 PM »

I must say that this mindfulness technique is quite wonderful.  I am a non, but it has really helped me reduce the anxiety in my life.  I tried to do a little bit of this after reading this post.  It has turned into a mini-self-experiment, if you will, and I have already stopped reacting so harshly to things and focusing so much attention on past events with my uBPDmom.

I like the idea of merely acknowledging the presence of my thoughts and feelings instead of running from one thought to the next. In a weird way, it seems that all my thoughts and feelings are really asking for one thing: validation.  For some reason, it really calms me and gets me to the source of what is going on in my mind.  What really helps is that I am not as reactive to the events in my life because it gives me the opportunity to process.  I speak slower and respond to events slower.  This is a good thing.  Sometimes I imagine that each thought or feeling is a bird that I have caught in my hands.  I look at it closely.  Sometimes it just needs to be held for a moment without judgment, and then I let it go. 

Does this makes sense to anyone?

This mindfulness technique felt weird at first because it was almost as if I was observing myself objectively in the 3rd person.  However, I think that amount of self-observation is crucial and is something that BPDs really lack.  I could be wrong, though.  More knowledgeable people on this subject can correct me on this one. 

And as far as this technique working for BPDs, I don't know.  I imagine my own uBPDmom trying this and getting very frustrated.  She has a hard time distinguishing between the reality of now vs. the reality of then.  She brings so much of her past into the present that I don't know if it would work.  She's not really high-functioning, though, either. 

Does anyone else have experiences with this technique that they could share?
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2010, 11:27:00 PM »

A lot of my therapy is based around mindfulness. I'm personally a very strong believer in it. Many people find traditional CBT challenging, particularly when as children of BPDs, we have spent much of our lives altering our own thoughts or listening to others and allowing them to convince us that their ideas are right just to survive. So we have learnt to deny our own thoughts and feelings. We've also had so much conditioning through abuse that it becomes very hard to change the thought patterns from the past.

I love mindfulness, for me it has had far reaching benefits. It has enabled me to cope with anxiety, panic attacks etc, to be able to finally identify and recognise what emotions are inside and not beat them off with a stick, it keeps me focused particularly when things are becoming overwhelming, it reminds me to stop and think before i react and best of all it reminds me that thoughts and feelings are just that, they can't hurt me. it is great for communication as well, as it reminds you to stop, really hear what the other person is saying and then take time to respond rather than instantly reacting.

I often get so caught up in my own thoughts that I forget to be present in the moment, which effects how i feel and my decisions. When an unhelpful thought pops into my head I tend to ruminate on it, worry about it, argue with it or try to push it away. It takes a huge amount of emotional energy to constantly be fighting yourself not to think or feel, when it 's far easier to simply acknowledge it's there, accept it and let it come and go. That's the basic idea of mindfulness. for the visual thinkers out there, my T described it to me as hearing cars on a busy street - you don't have to run out and see the car every time you hear it and think about how it was made or why; you just let it come and go. It's the same idea with thoughts, they come into your mind - make a bit of noise and if you let it without struggling with it, then it will move on and cause a whole lot less pain.

Some ways that i've learnt to practice mindfulness for strong thoughts and feelings :

- mindful breathing - basically become aware of your breath, what it feels like coming in and out. It centers you and makes you focus on what is happening here and now so that you have time to engage with a situation in the best way.

-making room for emotions - instead of battling with them acknowledge what they are, where you feel it in your body, whether it's a tightness or an pain etc. Look at the emotion more with a sense of interest then a fear that you need to get rid of it, then breathe into it and make room for it to just be inside. Once it has room it tends to lessen and you become more aware of your feelings.

- leaves on a stream (my favourite) this is a visual one - basically imagine you're sitting in front of a stream, whenever thoughts come along you simply imagine putting it on a leaf and letting it float down the stream. It teaches that thoughts come and go and gives you the ability to let it go instead of fighting with it and getting caught up in ruminating.

- For everyday stuff - just reminding yourself to be focused on the here and now eg - when you're having a shower , notice the smell of the soap, the temperature of the water and the feel of it on your skin, the sight of the water drops etc. When thoughts pop up acknowledge them, then take your attention back to te shower.

My concern when i first started was it seemed like just avoiding thoughts and feelings all together - it's not, it's just letting them be there without having to struggle with them.

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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2010, 05:54:26 AM »

Just wanted to share something i found from a while ago.

The inner Critic and mindfulness - Russ Harris - from the Happiness Trap

Non-judgmental reflection is key to mindfulness.

The 'inner critic' is a popular term for that voice in our head that just loves to criticize us. (I once asked a client, ‘Have you ever heard of “the inner critic”?’ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘I’ve got an inner committee!’).  You’re undoubtedly familiar with this voice. Does it judge you as fat/ stupid/ incompetent/ lazy/ old/ boring/ unlikable, or something similar? Does it compare you harshly to others? Does it start telling you the ‘I’m not good enough’ story, or the ‘I can’t do it’ story or the ‘I don’t try hard enough’ story?  If we’re repeatedly screwing up or making mistakes or indulging 'bad habits' or living inconsistently with our values, then harsh self-criticism is unlikely to help us improve or change. Usually, it just makes us feel bad about ourselves.

For effective change, what we need is compassionate, non-judgmental reflection on what it is that we're doing, what the consequences are, and how we might do it better.

There are three basic steps to using the inner critic:

1. Notice it

2. Name it

3. Neutralise it

Let’s look at these one by one.

1. Notice it: The critic churns out its judgments, and if we are operating on automatic-pilot, we swallow them, hook, line and sinker. However in mindfulness mode, we are able to step back and notice our thoughts; to see that they are words or sounds in our heads. This immediately gives us a little bit of separation from those thoughts.

2. Name it: We can increase defusion from the critic by naming it. We might say to ourselves: ‘Aha! The inner critic is at it again’, or ‘Aha! There’s the Not Good Enough story’. Or we might silently label these thought processes with a single word, such as ‘Judging’, ‘Criticising’, or ‘Comparing’. We can even give it a nickname: ‘There goes Black Bob again’, or ‘Aha! Here’s Captain Critical’.

3. Neutralise it: We can increase the degree of defusion still further by taking those critical thoughts and putting them into a new context where they are ‘neutral’—nothing more or less than words and sounds, rather than messages loaded with personal relevance.





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« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2010, 12:32:17 AM »

Mindfulness is the vehicle for getting us out of the hell that we allowed / created.  Or I should say it opens our perspective and lowers the intensity.  

Imagine feeling a center with whatever feeling comes your way.  Lessening the grip of addictions...

Mindfulness is helpful.  
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« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2010, 07:58:25 PM »

I love this thread.  I started thinking A LOT about this today after reading one of the lessons (the one on radical acceptance) and actually had one of the best days I have had in a while.  Spent a wonderful, loving day with my almost 5 yr old and BPD mother.  Normally a day with her would make me nuts but I just focussed on the moments and the good and thought about MY choices in terms of how to react or not.  I chose to focus on the joy of my daughter and not only did I have an amazing day with her and my mom but I have had one of the best days in a long, long time with my BPD husband.

This mindfulness and being in the present in really something I need and want to focus on daily.

Grateful for this thread.
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« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2011, 08:08:43 PM »

Mindfulness, really really basically put, is being aware of yourself.

The DBT Skills Workbook defines mindfulness (not terribly interestingly, but also less woo-woo-y) as: "The ability to be aware of your thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and actions- in the present moment- without judging or criticizing yourself or your experience."



I've heard an NA speaker say that, "Those who are asleep, are in their own world. Those who are awake, share the same world." Being mindful, is something akin to being awake, and to being a full, active participant in the world. For people- some like myself- who have grown up feeling something "other than" the rest of the world, mindfulness be powerful.

For me, mindfulness is simply defined, and hard as heck to practice. I function the best, and am at my happiest and with the last amount of strife in my world, when I have a good working relationship with reality. Mindfulness, for me, is the process of getting in touch with what reality really is. Not what I would like it to be, or even scarier, what I think it *should* be, but how it really is.  
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« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2011, 03:05:21 PM »

I am constantly reminding myself, and literally writing myself little notes to let go of expectations, let go of attachment to what I want things to be and how I want others to behave. To focus on my own self and just let others be in their own misery if that is the case. I remind myself that their stuff is their stuff and mine is mine. I remind myself (Step 1) that I am powerless overhit__.

Equanimity...
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« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2011, 08:50:53 PM »

That is a great thread.
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« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2011, 12:39:49 AM »

Meditation can provide "centeredness" before the fact, which is to say, it helps you to not act by reflex to stressful situations.

If you are well-centered and mindful, your brain won't be immediately clouded by emotions when your partner, for example, dysregulates and starts screaming at you. You won't immediately leap into the fray and start yelling back or reacting in other defensive, and unhelpful, ways.

This is not the same thing as maintaining an eerie calm when your partner hollers in anger about being fired from a job, or sobs about the loss of a parent.

The centeredness and mindfulness that mediation seems clinically proven to provide are things that keep you from acting rashly. In other words, they give you pause. They help you to keep in mind, for example, that, "My job in this situation is to validate my partner's emotions while at the same time keeping the situation from spiraling out of control."

They help you to keep at the forefront of your mind "I should think before I speak or act."

To me, this sort of self-discipline, if you want to call it that, or "centeredness" or "mindfulness", seem like they'd be very helpful when navigating the difficulties posed by a partner with BPD.
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« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2012, 11:18:56 PM »

Thank you to all who have posted here and thank you for bumping to the forefront again. It is worhtwhile to be reminded again and again, and in different ways, of all we learn here.

For me, one of my favourite mantras that I have learnt is to 'let go of ego' - an aspect of mindfulness that has helped me immensely.

cheers,

Vivek   xoxo
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« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2012, 06:23:56 PM »

This is a very timely thread for me. I've got the minduflness book, and it comes with a cd and an eight week course on bringing regular mindfulness practice into your life. it's great to see that its helped so many here  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2013, 08:18:59 PM »

Whew - coming back to this after 18 months. These tools are so important to my maintaining some sense of stability in my life. Much has changed - and many things in my home are better, more manageable. A lot is still the same. Have to keep practicing mindfulness - so easy to slip back into old patterns. Especially if fatigued and stressed. Like jumping into the moment with my hackles raised, ready to defend -- stop, take a time out. I often walk out of the room, then walk back in. I seem to need this physical action to get my mental focus together. Then I can usually put validation first -- then other solutions can be worked on.

Does this make any sense?

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« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2013, 11:07:16 AM »

Thank you, Skip and everybody in this thread!

Very useful.

 Survive
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« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2013, 02:21:45 PM »

Triggering, mindfulness, and the wisemind

How this process works internally for me...  

Trigger...   any attitude, action, reaction that I have experienced as traumatic in the past

Mindfulness...   reminding myself that this is only one moment in time...   here and now and

                    does not have to be a repeat of past experiences...   it is not the "be all and

                    end all"

Wisemind...   the free space to create a different outcome while acknowledging my

                  my emotions and using my skills

Each time I successfully use this process it becomes easier...   overtime it can become who I am and not just something I do...   new neuropathways becoming superhighways!

lbj
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« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2013, 11:09:06 AM »

Another word, or concept, that helps me is "reflective". Giving myself a pause to reflect on body, emotion, thoughts before taking action - speaking or doing or even moving on to next new thought.  Body is the physical sensations - gut, heart/lungs, facial muscles, seeing, hearing. It takes conscious effort to be aware of all this body stuff and gives me so much valuable information. It is the 'automatic' part of my neuro-systems.

So many languages to come to the same place - tell the same story.

qcr
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« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2013, 02:51:06 AM »

Is CBT similar to this?

Or rather, can CBT involve Wise Mind?

After reading through what Wise Mind is, it seems as if my therapist whom I saw for helping me to manage stress in other parts of my life was teaching me about Wise Mind...   though they never called it that and called it CBT.
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« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2013, 12:38:47 PM »

I have been reading and reading on here this morning. 

I need to let go of the guilt of not worring all the time by allowing myself to be ok and not feel guilty. I have got to really just let go that I can't help by telling her what to do.  I am doing more harm by doing that.  I will be doing more to help her by following what I am learning.  That is when it will change for me and hopefully give her a chance to get help, enjoy her life and kids. 

Am I correct.  I need to become comfortable with mindfulness by understanding and practicing it. The same with valadating and being wisemind. 

Oh I hope I can do this.  This is a wonderful thread
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« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2013, 12:47:05 PM »

I have been reading and reading on here this morning. 

I need to let go of the guilt of not worring all the time by allowing myself to be ok and not feel guilty. I have got to really just let go that I can't help by telling her what to do.  I am doing more harm by doing that.  I will be doing more to help her by following what I am learning.  That is when it will change for me and hopefully give her a chance to get help, enjoy her life and kids. 

Am I correct. 

Yes!  You are correct.
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« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2013, 03:41:05 AM »

Iced-CBT is more focused on change-on correcting bad habits etc. It deals with cognitive distortions, reframing-there are helpful threads on these topics in the workshop section of this website too. CBT would say that you have to change your behaviour before you feel better-that say you're not motivated, well you have to start doing something and then as you do the activity, you'll get motivated. There are CBT therapists who are starting to add mindfulness principles into their CBT practice though.

DBT combines acceptance and change principles. The change concepts in DBT are basically CBT but they also add acceptance principles from Zen Buddhism such as mindfulness. There is also a focus in DBT on not resorting to self-destructive behaviours because borderlines can be self-destructive. DBT also has a good section on assertiveness which is called interpersonal effectiveness. But yes, you're right there is a lot of crossover between DBT and CBT.

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« Reply #28 on: August 07, 2013, 11:38:26 AM »

Does anyone have specific recommendations for books dealing specifically with Wise Mind? It is something I am very interested in learning more about, but from what I gathered in this thread most of those posted only deal with Wise Mind in a small part.
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« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2013, 01:47:54 PM »

Does anyone have specific recommendations for books dealing specifically with Wise Mind? It is something I am very interested in learning more about, but from what I gathered in this thread most of those posted only deal with Wise Mind in a small part.

About six months ago I ordered from Amazon "The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook" by Mathew McKay et al.

Ironically it is the "recommended best" therapy for Personality Disorders. In a nut shell it is skills for "mindful" purpose filled living. The well spring for the therapy was derived from the Buddhist practice of "mindful thinking leads one to mindful actions". I have found great relief in "learning to be responsible" for my own actions and thoughts.

"Mindful Thinking" leads only one way. "Mindful Living"!

THE DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY SKILLS WORKBOOK

Practical DBT exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation and Distress Tolerance.

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