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New Year, New Skills

New year, new you…Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Here we are in February 2023, and we have had a little time to implement, or not, our resolutions. Often, we want so badly to be able to make changes, but we find ourselves in the same situations over and over. For many people this is not for lack of effort, trying, or desire, but it is rather a lack of skills. I don’t mean skills as in job skills or parenting skills, but skills that help us succeed in reducing anxieties, dealing with our emotions, and our interactions with others. We find ourselves in the same relationships, conflicts, depressive states, and fatigue asking ourselves how did we get here? The answer is complex, but almost always includes a lack skills in these areas. But is this a hopeless situation? Absolutely not!

The great thing is Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) can help in all of these situations. So, here is an introduction to dialectical behavioral therapy to see if it might be something you could use in your "New year, New you"...or better yet, New Year, New Skills.

DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that was developed to help individuals who struggle with emotion regulation and has been expanded to help those who are struggling with all types of mental health difficulties--from the everyday to the more severe. One of the key components of DBT is the use of coping skills, which are strategies that individuals can use to manage their emotions and behaviors in a healthy and adaptive way.

There are four main categories of DBT coping skills: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.

Mindfulness skills involve being present in the moment and paying attention to one's thoughts and feelings without judgment. This can be achieved through practices such as meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation.

Distress tolerance skills involve accepting and tolerating difficult emotions and situations without attempting to change them. This can be helpful in situations where it is not possible to change the circumstances, or when trying to change them would cause more harm than good. Examples of distress tolerance skills include self-soothing, distracting oneself, and finding meaning in the situation.

Emotion regulation skills involve changing or managing one's emotions in a healthy way. This can be achieved through techniques such as identifying and challenging negative thought patterns, using positive self-talk, and finding healthy ways to express and release emotions.

Interpersonal effectiveness skills involve communicating effectively with others, setting and maintaining healthy boundaries, and advocating for oneself in a respectful and assertive manner.

Using DBT coping skills can help individuals better manage their emotions and behaviors, leading to improved relationships and overall well-being. It's important to note that these skills take time and practice to master, and it's okay to make mistakes and try again. If you are struggling with emotion regulation and think DBT may be helpful for you, consider reaching out to the King's Forge where we have DBT trained therapists ready to help.

Besides, what do you have to lose? New Year, Same You, or New Year, New Skills?

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