I share a common understanding with the people I help. I know what it feels like to be born sensitive. Many share with me that it feels like a curse to be emotional and that they feel misunderstood in the world. I say that it can be considered to be both a blessing and a curse. In DBT we talk about acceptance and change. As therapists we are constantly dancing in the light of helping our clients feel accepted for being emotional and to help them adapt to make the best of such a gift. I know that there are times it feels like the sadness never passes, that happiness is short-lived, and anger is ever-present. I would like to say that emotions change….. in the middle of hopelessness remember that even that will end. No emotion lasts forever.
IN DBT skills group we learn about emotion regulation and what to do with what we feel. Three themes in emotion regulation are:
1) Naming and labeling emotions
2) Reducing Vulnerability
3) Decreasing emotional suffering
NAMING AND LABELING EMOTION
Being able to identify what an emotion feels like inside of us, what it looks like to others that are observing /interacting with us, and whether the emotion is a primary emotion or secondary. Our emotions are valid and real… it does not mean that acting on them is effective.
Reducing Vulnerability by the Please Master Skills.
Treat Physical Illness
Avoid Mood-Altering Drugs
Decrease Emotional Suffering
1) Mindfully accepting the emotion
2) Changing the emotion by opposite action
In the following video George Costanza from Seinfeld does a funny version of opposite action.
Learning how to be an emotional person does not have to feel like a curse. DBT is an amazing, positive, treatment that can teach you the blessings of being you….