DBT part 2

Today was all about understanding the dialectics or doing both the acceptance and change of the client’s target (problem) behavior. Unlike CBT, which is focused on change purely, DBT focuses on finding a solution acceptable to both client and therapist that includes both approaches of solving the target behavior called the synthesis.

Then we dived into behavior therapy, specifically operant and classic conditioning. We did understand the positive & negative reinforcement and punishment concepts.

Following this, we did a case specific behavior chain analysis that is essentially a functional analysis of identifying the target behavior, recognizing the precipitating event or the antecedent in general behavior therapy language, in light of that day’s specific vulnerability factors for that client like lack of sleep or hunger etc. It is to be noted that, when identifying the precipitating event, we also want to know what thought & emotion led the client to do the target behavior- the culminating F it moment! These are the key controlling variables we want to track across chain analyses of various events of such critical nature over time. These will show a pattern, that we can then use to reinforce relevant skills that were used during such crises events , as identified as controlling variables. This is a good way to problem solve, is what I understand.

Well that’s it from me on DBT learnings so far ! Enjoy!

Cheers,

Shrivi

DBT part 1

This day has been filled with understanding mindfulness in light of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). I understood the difference between reasonable mind, emotional mind (extremes) and the wise mind that sits at the intersection of these extremes. Wise mind as I understand is to come from a deep sense of knowing the truth! It’s definitely a Zen acceptance concept adapted well in therapy.

I really appreciated the importance given to self-validation to be placed in high priority above other validation strategies used in DBT.

Tomorrow we look at behavior therapy side of things along with details on chain analysis!

See you tomorrow!

Cheers,

Shrivi

Affirmations and Summaries

If all that I grasped from Miller and Rollnick’s book was how to do affirmations and summaries , I think my day was well spent! I loved the practice of role playing to summarize and affirm case studies of imaginary clients, and it was totally helpful. It put my senses of reflections in perspective and gave me an extra push to recognize strengths, efforts, values and skills in my clients😅 through these attuned reflections, aka affirmations!

Summaries can be transitional , linking as well as collective and can be rendered merely to fill an awkward pause in the conversation or as we are inundated with too much info and all you need is a break to collect your thoughts so far.

Unjumbled my day through this feat!

Enjoy a wonderful evening!

Cheers,

Shrivi

Cognitive distortions

Cognitive distortions arising from negative core beliefs are something to be deeply analyzed on a daily basis, for the automatic thoughts crossing our minds!

Taking a step back and looking at what just happened in our mind is all it takes to stay present with ourself and really being true to our personality.

Measuring the possibility of our core beliefs to be even slightly incorrect based on the existing evidence shown by the people around us and other environmental factors is very critical!

Here’s to looking closely at our thoughts that sometimes make no sense in hindsight! Lol!

Have a great weekend!

Best,

Srivi

Person-centered theory

We know there is this medical model of psychiatry that comes with diagnoses and labels that hurt the client’s experience with an authority of the diagnostician. To help move away from the painful labels of the client, one can rely on what is called the person-centered theory or client-based theory. Person-based theory is that which places focus on the client as the expert in the therapeutic relationship between the psychologist/social worker and the client.

A legacy of hope and inspiration 

Martin Luther King Jr. lived an extraordinary life. At 33, he was pressing the case of civil rights with President John Kennedy. At 34, he galvanized the nation with his “I Have a Dream” speech. At 35, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. At 39, he was assassinated, but he left a legacy of hope and inspiration that continues today.

Finding Hope in recovery

Finding Hope

When preoccupied in an addictive substance or behavior, it not always easy to see a life beyond the addiction; beyond the chaos, pain and suffering. But hope can be found. There is no right or wrong way to find hope. Sometimes it comes easy, and sometimes we need to work to find hope.

Below are a few ways that have helped our clients find hope even during times of deep despair.

Listen to Stories of Hope
Listening to stories of hope, success and triumphs of others can help us find hope. These stories not only inspire us, but also shed light on strategies of finding and sustaining hope even during the darkest times.

Think of the Future
Look into the future and identify who and what’s important to you. It could be a loved one such as a child, spouse or parents. It can also be an event or something you always wanted to do. Looking into the future helps cultivate a purpose and direction in life (i.e. hope).

Positive Affirmations
Though a simple process, positive affirmations do work. The repetition of positive affirmations leads to belief, and belief is at the heart of hope. Affirmations such as ‘I am strong, I can overcome my challenges, I am a new person, I feel new hope and I can recover’ rebuild a sense of self-worth and your belief that you are capable of achieving your goals. Not only do affirmations build belief, but also a confidence and a drive for change and action.

Leaning on a Higher Power
Many find hope by reaching for a higher power. This could be through spirituality, religion or philosophy. Reaching to a higher power is actually Step 2 in the 12-Step Process, “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”. Simplified this reads as ‘There is help for my problem and I believe I can address it’.

Accept Your Current Situation
For someone it may be hard to accept that they are currently in a bad place. But the courage of acceptance is the first step in desiring a better future (i.e hope). Acceptance helps us realize that our current situation is not where we want to be, and helps us develop a vision of where we want to be. Without acceptance, we cannot take control of our destiny to reach a better tomorrow.

Have Realistic and Meaningful Plan
It is action that makes hopes come true. By the mere fact of developing a plan for a better future you will build hope. The more your plan, with firm action steps and dates, you will come to realize that your vision is truly attainable.

The journey and recovery from addiction is never an easy one. No one can last long and keep fighting for recovery without hope. Hope is a central ingredient in our recovery. Finding hope and meaning, together with a solid plan, helps us move forward on our journey of recovery.

“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope” – Martin Luther

By George Ratnanather

10 Tips for Addiction Recovery

CreditsDr. Urschel and Enterhealth LLC (National Geographic Channel)

Anyone who is in addiction recovery or seeking help for the first time should understand that alcohol and drug addiction is a disease, not a morale failing or a weakness of willpower or a lack in ability to just say ‘no’.

Addiction cannot be cured, but it can be managed.   Getting help from a professional that approaches addiction as a disease is first step to a successful recovery.  By following the recommendations of experienced professionals with access to the latest advances in therapy and medicine, individuals will have the best chance at recovery and bright and happy future.

Here are 10 key tips for making a successful recovery:

1.      Make your recovery a priority – put yourself first and stay in touch with trained professionals who know you and can provide you with comprehensive treatment options and sound advice throughout your recovery.

2.      Take it one day at a time – recovery is a process, not a destination.  Do not let thoughts of use or old habits get the best of you.  Learn techniques to overcome any negative thoughts and feelings

3.      Communicate – addiction can be very isolating so talk to your friends and family about your challenges.  While it may be tough, the support system you create will give you an enormous boost.  They will be there when you need them and will help you stay motivated and focused.

4.      Change your environment – one of the best ways to maintain a healthy recovery is to replace your bad habits with healthy, new ones.  Surround yourself with positive people, things and experiences.  Search out cultural events and activities in your area that can stimulate your body and mind in a new, exciting – and healthy way.

5.      Change your friends – some of your friends may have been enabling your addiction instead of helping you control it.  If you have friends that may jeopardize your recovery, it is time to find a new circle of friends.  The right friends will help you to maintain a healthy recovery.

6.      Get out and exercise – spending 30-60 minutes walking or at the gym will just a few days a week will do wonders for you.  Exercise will not only boost your physical strength, it will boost your mental health as well.

7.      Improve your diet – in addition to exercise, eating right is another key ingredient to a successful recovery.  Whether you get help or do it on your own, improvements in diet will make you healthier mentally and physically.

8.      Join a support group – whether you join a church based group, AA or other social support network, they can provide wonderful value, help and wisdom to your recovery efforts

9.      Work or donate some of your time – being productive at your job or giving back to a cause you believe it will do wonders for your self-esteem.  Making a positive contribution at work or for others will give you a wonderful sense of accomplishment and pride.

10.   Never give up – whatever you do, regardless of the challenges or obstacles you face, do not give up or give in to the disease.  Rely on your family, friends and support tools to keep going in the face of temptations and difficult days.

7 Fun Ways To Teach Your Kids Mindfulness

CreditsKaia Roman

I taught a mindfulness class at my daughters’ elementary school this week. Unsurprisingly, the kids taught me way more than I taught them.

While I was doing research to develop the class, I came upon a wealth of information about mindfulness programs in schools. For one, I learned that actress Goldie Hawn has been working with neuroscientists, cognitive psychologists and educators to develop a mindfulness curriculum for schools. I was thrilled to find out that their research reported that mindfulness education in schools has proven benefits: it increases optimism and happiness in classrooms, decreases bullying and aggression, increases compassion and empathy for others and helps students resolve conflicts.

If you ever want to be inspired and also have a giggle, ask a group of kids what they think “mindfulness” is. “Relaxing out of our daily troubles and stress,” “A way to stay yourself when you’re going through something troubling” and “It’s like getting off of one railroad track and getting onto another one” were some of my favorite answers from the recent class meeting. Kids can really be fountains of spiritual wisdom!

When I told them the dictionary’s definition (“a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique”), the kids weren’t entirely sure what I was talking about. And so we did some exercises to test it out. Feel free to try these at home!

1. The Bell Listening Exercise

Ring a bell and ask the kids to listen closely to the vibration of the ringing sound. Tell them to remain silent and raise their hands when they no longer hear the sound of the bell. Then tell them to remain silent for one minute and pay close attention to the other sounds they hear once the ringing has stopped. After, go around in a circle and ask the kids to tell you every sound they noticed during that minute. This exercise is not only fun and gets the kids excited about sharing their experiences with others, but really helps them connect to the present moment and the sensitivity of their perceptions.

2. Breathing Buddies

Hand out a stuffed animal to each child (or another small object). If room allows, have the children lie down on the floor and place the stuffed animals on their bellies. Tell them to breathe in silence for one minute and notice how their Breathing Buddy moves up and down, and any other sensations that they notice. Tell them to imagine that the thoughts that come into their minds turn into bubbles and float away. The presence of the Breathing Buddy makes the meditation a little friendlier, and allows the kids to see how a playful activity doesn’t necessarily have to be rowdy.

3. The Squish & Relax Meditation

While the kids are lying down with their eyes closed, have them squish and squeeze every muscle in their bodies as tightly as they can. Tell them to squish their toes and feet, tighten the muscles in their legs all the way up to their hips, suck in their bellies, squeeze their hands into fists and raise their shoulders up to their heads. Have them hold themselves in their squished up positions for a few seconds, and then fully release and relax. This is a great, fun activity for “loosening up” the body and mind, and is a totally accessible way to get the kids to understand the art of “being present.”

4. Smell & Tell

Pass something fragrant out to each child, such as a piece of fresh orange peel, a sprig of lavender or a jasmine flower. Ask them to close their eyes and breathe in the scent, focusing all of their attention only on the smell of that object. Scent can really be a powerful tool for anxiety-relief(among other things!).

5. The Art Of Touch

Give each child an object to touch, such as a ball, a feather, a soft toy, a stone, etc. Ask them to close their eyes and describe what the object feels like to a partner. Then have the partners trade places. Both this exercise and the previous one are simple, but compelling, ways to teach the kids the practice of isolating their senses from one another, and tuning into distinct experiences.

6. The Heartbeat Exercise

Have the kids jump up and down in place for one minute. Then have them sit back down and place their hands on their hearts. Tell them to close their eyes and feel their heartbeats, their breath, and see what else they notice about their bodies.

7. Heart-To-Heart

In this exercise, the meaning of “heart” is less literal. In other words, this activity could also simply be called “Let’s talk about feelings.” So sit down and casually, comfortably ask the children to tell you about their feelings. What feelings do they feel? How do they know they are feeling those feelings? Where do they feel them in their bodies? Ask them which feelings they like the best.

Then ask them what they can do to feel better when they aren’t feeling the feelings they like best. Remind them that they can always practice turning their thoughts into bubbles if they are upset, they can do the Squish and Relax Meditation if they need to calm down, and they can take a few minutes to listen to their breath or feel their heartbeats if they want to relax.

My hope for the mindfulness class was to give the kids some tools they can use anytime: tools to calm down, slow down and feel better when they are troubled. I sure wish I had these tools at my disposal when I was their age. Imagine if all the children around the Earth learned to use these tools during their childhoods. What a change our world would experience within just one generation!

Photo Credit: Stocksy

Meditation & Yoga on-the-go

http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/yoga-for-travelers

 

Shreya Vikram

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