DBT Diaries – Week 15

*PLEASE REMEMBER NOT ALL GROUPS ARE RUN THE SAME WAY AND YOUR EXPERIENCES MAY BE DIFFERENT TO MINE. THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG AS EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT, THIS IS JUST MEANT AS A LITTLE INSIGHT INTO THE TOPIC FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED.

TOPIC

This week’s topic was still continuing the emotion regulation module. It covered building mastery by doing things that make you feel competent and effective to combat hopelessness and coping ahead when you know you will be in a situation that will challenge you emotionally.

Building Mastery

Building mastery is about doing things that make you feel effective and competent to improve your mental health. This can be done by doing at least one thing each day that builds a sense of accomplishment – it can be as big or as small as you like – just consider the following things

  • Plan for success, not failure – do something difficult but possible
  • Gradually increase the difficulty over time
  • Continue to look for a challenge – if something becomes too easy try something harder

Coping Ahead

Coping ahead is about rehearsing a plan ahead of time so that you are prepared to cope skillfully with emotional situations.

  1. Describe the situation likely to prompt emotional or problem behaviour
  2. Decide what coping or problem-solving skills you want to use – be specific
  3. Imagine the situation in your mind as vividly as possible
  4. Rehearse coping effectively in the worst case scenario
  5. Practice relaxation techniques after rehearsing
  6. Rehearse coping effectively in the best case scenario
  7. Practice relaxation techniques after rehearsing

THOUGHTS

As with many of the other skills in DBT these can be utilised in a variety of situations, not just emotionally charged ones. Building mastery can give a real sense of achievement and can be anything from getting up and dressed during a depressive episode to getting a brilliant grade at uni – it’s all subjective to the person using the skill. Coping ahead is a great skill for people whose minds tend to time travel and predict the future – if you are prepared for several eventualities and have practiced how you will react in them you will feel calmer and in control. Before DBT I used the cope ahead skill when starting a new job, it helped to ease my anxiety and ensure I was prepared for what could happen.

These are the first emotion regulation skills that I already had in my arsenal, which means they’re already pretty embedded in my coping mechanisms. However, if they’re not things you use regularly I would definitely recommend them.

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