Help me develop a DBT-based parenting program!

This program will be based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. If proven successful there is a high possibility it will be moved online to support moms from around the world!

Here is the link for the survey! Thank you for your help and support 🙂

Experiences of Mom’s with Borderline Personality Disorder/Borderline Traits

 

Join me in learning DBT Skills!

When I get right down to it, if I had not of learned Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) skills I would not have my son. I feared that if I did not get my emotions under control I would not be able to properly cope with the trials of parenthood and not give my child the best version of myself. Before DBT, I felt stuck and worried that I would never have the family I knew I deserved.

Very quickly, I saw that the DBT skills were changing me. Emotion regulation skills taught me about my emotions (to listen to them, not hate them) and how I can influence them. Interpersonal effectiveness skills taught me how to better communicate my needs and that I am not responsible for people’s responses. Distress tolerance skills taught me how to cope in times of stress and how meeting my physical needs helps tolerate emotional distress. Mindfulness skills taught me how to slow down and notice the moment so I do not become overwhelmed in this fast paced world.

Maybe you can relate to my experience. Maybe your emotions and ability to cope with them are holding you back from having a life worth living. I would like to encourage you to consider joining me in learning DBT. I work for an organization, based out of Toronto, Ontario called Dialectical Living. We have spots currently open for our 2017 DBT skills classes. The great thing about our classes is that you do not have to live in Toronto to attend! In February 2017 we are launching our Intro to DBT course ONLINE! Learn DBT with me and my co-facilitator wherever you are in the world!

In the Intro to DBT course you will learn all of the core DBT skills over a 12 week period. The course is cost-effective and one of the most affordable DBT courses out there. It is very important to myself and the staff at Dialectical Living that we are as affordable as possible so everyone who needs DBT can access it.

To learn more about our courses please visit our website: http://www.dialecticalliving.ca/online-skills-group/

 

My DEAR MAN was great, the response was not: Accepting that I cannot control others

Please check out my recent blog post in Dialectical Living about my first time using DEAR MAN. It did not go over well but I still came away with a very valuable lesson about not being able to control others.

I have found it frustrating over the years that I have learned so much about how to become a more improved version of myself and yet these skills do not always translate well to others due to their inexperience with them. It has always fascinated me that I have learned self-reflection, mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal skills because I was deemed to have a deficit and yet I am surrounded by people daily who demonstrate the same deficit, they just are just not labeled as “mentally ill”.

Have there been moments when you have practiced a skill with someone and it didn’t work out? What about moments of when the skill does work? 

After “World Suicide Prevention Day”: 4 events I’m glad I lived to see

This past Saturday was World Suicide Prevention Day. Please take the time to read a blog post I wrote about for Dialectical Living, a peer-based DBT organization based in Toronto. In the post, I share 4 events that have happened in my life that I am glad I got to experience. I was able to experience these events because I did not die when I tried to back in 2005.

I would love to hear how you celebrated World Suicide Prevention Day, your thoughts and feelings and anything else!

http://www.dialecticalliving.ca/after-world-suicide-prevention-day/

I can be a counsellor now!

I finally have liability insurance and can start counselling individuals! I am trained in DBT and use DBT myself so being able to work with others who have BPD or emotional regulation issues is pretty amazing!

I find myself filled with a great fear that I will ultimately blow it as a counsellor and make people worse rather than better. While I do not want to devalue my experience of supporting friends, family, strangers and even my peer support work, I do not feel it is the same. In all cases, I was really not responsible for the overall wellbeing of the person. I was a listening ear that then suggested they seek counselling if it was needed or wanted. I was the person that knew where to get counselling. Now, I will be the counsellor. It’s scary.

I believe that once I have my first client and get things going I will feel ok. Extra responsibility is nerve-wracking at first. I do believe I can make a difference in someone’s life and I’m so happy that I was given the chance to be  counsellor!

I will be working at Dialectical Living which specializes in providing DBT individual therapy and skills groups to people in Toronto and the surrounding area who experience BPD and other mental health issues that involve emotion regulation issues.

Stop Caring!: Battling Judgement

We all make judgments. If you believe that you do not make judgements then you are lying to yourself. That is a fact, not a judgement because judgements are our first reaction to something and we have little to no control over our first reactions.  The important part with judgements is to not let them influence us and destroy the lives our lives and the lives of others.

Image: a hand pointing with the index finger.

Since I started learning DBT skills with DBT Path and now with Dialectical Living I have been working on reducing my judgements. Non-Judgmentally is a mindfulness skill and part of our suffering can definitley come from being judgmental towards others, ourselves and situations. I became aware of my judgments very quickly earlier this year when it was suggested in my Skills Group with DBT Path that we count how many judgments we make a day. By the time I got to 10 judgments in less than 5 minutes I thought to myself, “Alright, I get it. No more counting, I make too many judgments.”

I challenge my judgments towards others daily. If someone says something I don’t like, is wearing something I think is ugly etc. I catch myself and think inside my mind, “Oh stop it! What you’re judging DOES NOT MATTER! You are not being hurt, the thing you are judging has very little consequence in your life. Just drop it.” I say this without judging myself for having the judgment.

Image: “Be curious, not judgmental.” – Walt Whitman

Where I am still struggling to reduce judgments is towards myself and certain loved ones. It makes sense that reducing judgments in these two areas would be more difficult because I am closer to them and the actions of others and myself have more of an impact. In this case, I try to be more compassionate and understanding towards the other person’s perspective. This is difficult and possible. The judgments towards myself will probably take longer but I am starting with small judgments and working my way up.

DBT Skills: Wise Mind

I have begun a new DBT Group through a local, peer-led organization call Dialectical Living!  This organization specifically provides DBT Groups to individuals with BPD/Emotion Regulation Disorder (ERD) for a fairly affordable rate. This organization helps fill the huge DBT and BPD services gap that is in Toronto. Dialectical Living is also going to be offering individual DBT counselling soon! I am also very pleased to add that I am being trained by Dialectical Living to become a teacher in the DBT Groups and as an individual counsellor 🙂

So, I had my first Group on Tuesday and we talked about Wise Mind. Briefly, here is Wise Mind…

Our home practice was to notice when we enter each of these mind sets. I would like to share with you when I have used Wise Mind within the last few days.

Situation: A car alarm was going off in the distance for almost 30 minutes at 11pm.

My initial feelings: I found myself getting very aggravated and passing judgments such as, “What kind of person lets their car alarm go for that long?” and “What kind of people live in this neighborhood that car alarms are constantly going off?”

How I used Wise Mind: I noticed these thoughts and decided to radically accept that the alarm was going off and felt grateful that the alarm was in the distance and not right outside my building because there are people who are closer to the sound who must be bothered by it more. I noticed the sound and then refocused on watching Bones. This made me feel calm and satisfied.

In this situation, I also used the DBT skills ACCEPTS, Mindfulness, Radical Acceptance, and Distraction.

I think it is a great exercise to notice when you are in Rational/Reasonable Mind, Emotion Mind, and Wise Mind. Already, in the 3 days that I have been tracking this I am noticing that I spend a lot of time in Emotion Mind than in Rational/Reasonable Mind. I seem to alternate between Emotion Mind and Wise Mind throughout the day. When I enter Emotion Mind I do feel myself trying to pull myself away from it and shift into Wise Mind which I didn’t feel myself doing a year ago before I began learning DBT.

If you live in Toronto or the GTA, have BPD/ERD and would like to attend the next Intro to DBT Group with Dialectical Living please contact Julie at julie@dialecticalliving.ca. The next 10-week course will begin early next year! Who knows, maybe I’ll be teaching it?!