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DBT and Mindfulness at Home: Tips for Practicing Both

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) can be highly effective in helping people learn to cope with both the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and the stressors of daily life, but many don’t know how to integrate DBT into their home lives, especially if they aren’t able to receive therapy on a regular basis. Fortunately, there are some easy ways you can practice both DBT and mindfulness at home. Here are some tips on getting started with both practices and helping you cope better in the future.

Defining Mindfulness

Mindfulness refers to a set of practices that are focused on experiencing a person’s thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations without judgment. The word itself is rooted in Buddhism, but it has been adopted by many secular therapists as well. In fact, mindfulness is one of five primary principles within Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), a highly effective form of cognitive-behavioural therapy developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in conjunction with her work as a psychologist with borderline personality disorder patients.

How to be Mindful

Mindfulness is about focusing on one thing—with awareness, with intensity, and without judgment. It’s a mental attitude we can adopt when practicing meditation. To be mindful means to cultivate an awake, focused attention on whatever is happening in our moment-to-moment experience. It’s being fully awake to what’s happening right now without wishing it were different; experiencing feelings without judging them as good or bad; being with our thoughts without thinking they should be different.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) | Bangor University

Defining DBT

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a type of psychotherapy developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in response to her work with suicidal individuals. It’s been effective in helping individuals gain better control over their emotions, behaviours, and mental states. DBT was originally used to treat Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but has since been adapted for use with other psychological disorders.  The treatment consists of four modules that include individual therapy, group skills training classes, phone coaching sessions, and therapist consultation team meetings. In addition to these core components, therapists also commonly recommend journaling as an important part of a successful DBT program. Journaling helps patients track their progress and identify any triggers or obstacles they may encounter along the way.

How to Practice Mindfulness with DBT

One of many skills developed through Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is mindfulness, or being aware of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, surroundings and physical sensations. The practice of mindfulness helps people suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) manage their overwhelming emotions and thoughts. Learning to manage these powerful emotions can be a challenge; however, with DBT mindfulness strategies it is possible to live a more fulfilling life by alleviating symptoms associated with BPD.

The Link Between Practicing Mindfulness And Anxiety Reduction

One of the most well-researched mindfulness practices is called sitting meditation. A 2011 study found that people with anxiety who practice mindful breathing—deep, slow breathing from your diaphragm to your belly—for 30 minutes a day experience a reduction in anxiety symptoms. One of the reasons why meditating can be so helpful when it comes to reducing anxiety is because it gives you an opportunity to let go of whatever’s upsetting you, which can help prevent those negative thoughts from spiralling out of control.