Celebrities Who Have Found DBT Useful

Just what is DBT Therapy?

Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, is a cognitive-behavioral treatment developed in the 1980s by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D. originally developed to treat people who are suicidal or with borderline personality disorder. Today DBT is evidence-based to be effective for the treatment of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, bi-polar disorder, self-destructive or impulsive behaviors, and substance abuse.

Those who may benefit from DBT often experience extremely intense, negative, and uncontrollable emotions and impulsive decision making. Individuals often experience these extreme emotions when interacting with others, for example, friends, family, or romantic partners, causing a great deal of conflict in their relationships.

The theory behind the approach is that some people are prone to react in a more intense manner toward emotional situations. DBT suggests that some people’s reactions to situations can increase far more quickly than the average person’s, attain a higher level of emotional stimulation, and take a significantly longer to return to baseline. These people see the world in black-and-white, and seem to always be jumping from one crisis to another. Because few people understand such reactions — they often feel alone and consistently invalidated — they don’t have any strategies for coping with intense emotions. DBT is a method for teaching coping skills that help in the moment.

Today, more people are getting behind the importance of mental health. In fact, many celebrities have expressed their own experiences with therapy and prioritizing mental wellness, making it less of a taboo topic from which others can draw inspiration.

In a recent interview with Teen Vogue, singer and actress Selena Gomez opened up about her feelings about therapy, praising DBT and how it has helped her change her life for the better. “I have this dream of mine that’s beyond all of this where I think that personally, it should be required in schools to be taught dialectical behavior therapy,” Selena said.

During Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus tour, singer and actress Lady Gaga sat down with Oprah to discuss her mental health in an emotionally candid interview. Gaga opens up about how DBT is a part of her mental health regimen. In addition to transcendental meditation, daily exercise, and “radical acceptance”, Gaga says that “medicine, therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive therapy,” are tools of choice to help her cope with some of life’s challenges.

Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams shared on the Happy Place podcast that fame has been detrimental to her mental health. She says that she once used to seek negative online criticism so that she could “sit in a hole of sadness.” “I think there was a period of time where I was very sad, and then I came out of that, and now it’s just really terrifying that you’re ever going to slip back into it.” Maisie then offers a more optimistic insight, “As soon as you start digging, you start asking yourself bigger questions than ‘Why do I hate myself?’ It’s more like, ‘Why do you make yourself feel this way?’ The answers to all of these questions really are within you.”

Mindful Healing LLC offer Dialectical Behavior Therapy for teens. Our Coping Skills Group helps teens with overwhelming emotions develop skills to live the life they love.

3 Ways to Help Your Teen See The Positive in Things

Anyone with teenagers knows that teenagers’ feelings can be intense. Even small issues can sometimes turn their world upside down and create an outlook of doom. And when life really gets hard, some teens don’t even know where to begin to find just a sliver of silver lining. As a parent, you of course can’t help but feel overwhelmed not knowing what to do or how to help your teen process their massive list of emotional stressors.

We’ve outlined three simple ways to help your teen see the positive during life’s challenges. Whether your teen has a seemingly minor issue, to a full blown crisis, these tips will help you help them.

ONE: Validate Their Feelings And Stressors

Reassure your teen that their feelings are valid and that what they are experiencing is real, even if you don’t quite understand the extent of their concerns or from where they may be stemming. Sometimes, simply having someone acknowledge you and your feelings can go a long way in coping and healing.

TWO: Acknowledge Positive Things Around You

In DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), we have a skill called Accumulating Positive Experiences/Emotions. Often times, when we are in the midst of negative emotions and feelings, we can’t readily acknowledge anything positive around us. Help your teen find their way out of this auto-pilot way of negative thinking by encouraging them to acknowledge the positive things in their life. Spend time identifying something they are grateful for, take notice of something good that happened to them that day, or remind them of something funny or exciting they did recently.

THREE: Identify New Ways To Add Positivity In Their Lives

Having something positive to look forward to can inspire hope and enthusiasm in life. Help your teen identify what short-term positive experiences they can begin to add to their routine. Does your teen have a short term goal they want to achieve? Is there a particular cause they value and would feel good contributing to? Perhaps there’s an activity your teen has always wanted to try? Whatever positive experience it is, encourage your teen to go for it while also making it your priority.

Adding positive experiences to our life is a great way to boost our mood long-term. Mindfulness and pleasant activities are shown to decrease depression and anxiety. Remind your teen that stress and feeling overwhelmed are normal feelings. They can feel both stressed AND have positive experiences.

One Skill To Boost Your Teen’s Happiness

February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. Sure, performing a random act of kindness is intended to make the benefiting party feel good, but did you know that random acts of kindness can have positive impacts on the person giving the nice gesture?

Being kind can have a positive impact on your teen’s mood and physical health. Studies have shown that kindness can reduce stress, boost immune systems, and help reduce negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, and depression. Afterall, kindness is chemical.

When random acts of kindness are practiced, neurochemicals that result in a sense of well-being are released. The same neural circuits that are involved in chemical “highs” are the same ones activated by kindness and compassion. Kindness literally can reduce physically and emotional pain because it releases dopamine, serotonin, and endogenous into our system (the natural chemicals responsible for happiness, mood regulation, and pain management).

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Random acts of kindness can enhance the release of oxytocin in interactions where two or more people are engaged in kind behavior. Oxytocin plays a role in forming social bonds such as trust among people, which is essential for teens because social connection is one of their primary developmental needs.

Acts of kindness can release hormones that contribute to a positive mood and overall well being. The practice is so effective it’s being formally incorporated into some types of psychotherapy. In DBT random acts of kindness is part of the Mindfulness Module, accumulating positive experiences skill, and gratitude skills.

These skills help teens manage feelings of depression, anxiety, and overwhelm. It utilizes mindfulness meditation, documenting gratitude, and acts of kindness that are incorporated into daily routines.

Speak with your teen about ways in which they can perform random acts of kindness at home, at school, or in the neighborhood. Encourage them to think of small gestures of kindness that they can incorporate into their daily routine. February is just a start to a lifelong practice of gratitude and kindness!

If your teen needs support with managing their emotions and learning how to bring mindfulness into their daily life contact us here to learn more.

Coping With Negative Emotions

One of the techniques we teach our teens at Mindful Healing, is… no surprise…Mindfulness. Now that is a word that is used a lot but what is it really… and how do we teach teens to utilize it?

Mindfulness is a practice, which is very relevant for our lives today. It simply means being in the “now,” paying attention to the present moment, observing our thoughts and physical sensations without judgment. This means that as we observe our thoughts, when, for example, we are anxious about the possibility of failing an upcoming test, we are not saying to ourselves, “I am ‘stupid’, but are just observing we have that feeling and it pass. Also, we are not, for example, narrating a catastrophic scene, when a thought such as “I am feeling anxious about going to that party tonight” pops into our mind. We simply are aware of the thought, accept it and let it pass. As we become more practiced at using mindfulness, for breathing, for body sensations, and for routine daily activities, we automatically learn to be mindful observers of our thoughts and feelings, and more accepting of them. This results in less distress and increases our ability to enjoy our lives. 

With mindfulness, even the most disturbing sensations, feelings, thoughts, and experiences, can be viewed in the mind, almost as if it were a movie, and not as if it were actually true. (Brantley 2003). 

As we become more skilled at being mindful, then even in times of emotional crisis, we will be able to automatically use these observer skills and the mindful breathing that is part of this process where, as we focus our attention on our breathing.  We simply observe the distressful thoughts without believing or disbelieving them or arguing with them. If our thoughts become overwhelming, too strong or loud, we just move our attention once again to our breath, to our bodily sensations and to the sounds around us. 

Jon Kabat-Zinn (2004) uses the example of waves to help explain mindfulness:

“Think of your mind as the surface of a lake or an ocean. There are always waves on the water, sometimes big, sometimes small, sometimes almost imperceptible. The water’s waves are churned up by winds, which come and go and vary in direction and intensity, just as do the winds of stress and change in our lives, which stir up waves in our mind. It’s possible to find shelter from much of the wind that agitates the mind. Whatever we might do to prevent them, the winds of life and of the mind will blow. 

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”!

Does your teen need support in learning to manage negative feelings?

Contact us to learn more. 

3 Steps To Healthy Choices

Teens struggle with impulsive decisions and/or choices that are not fully thought out, without regard to potential consequences. Teens have a hard enough time thinking about how their decisions will impact them tomorrow, least of all next week or year. Their frontal lobe doesn’t fully develop until age 26 or 27 and that is where sound decision making occurs.  

At Mindful Healing, we teach teens to utilize the acronym ACT to make healthy decisions. ACT is a 3-step process that provides your teen with a blueprint, that if they practice, will actually enable them to evaluate situations in a more mature manner so they can be true to themselves.

A-C-T: 

A: Accept. Accepting involves breathing, being observant of the present, watching your thoughts and feelings knowing they are not necessarily representative of reality; taking an outside perspective so that you are not looking just at your momentary desire, for example: “I really want to go to that party tonight, but…” (I have homework to do, or I am not comfortable with all the alcohol that will be there, or my friend’s parents won’t be home and I know my parents would be furious if they knew that…)

C: Consider. Consider your values. Which values are related to your situation and how do they apply? (alcohol at the party, not getting my schoolwork done, not following parental guidelines .. for the above example).

T: Take Action. Process mindfully honoring your values (“I can’t go tonight. I have to study for a test.)

At Mindful Healing, we not only teach these skills, but we encourage our teens to Practice! Practice! Practice! This way, when they really need to use it, it won’t be an effort.

If you have a teen who needs support in making effective choices contact us to learn more!

12 Good Mood Boosters For Christmas

Christmas is only 13 days away and we know that the stresses might be high. Everyone’s running around buying Christmas presents, organizing the Christmas party and preparing for the big day. And on top of that, teens are studying for important exams.

That’s why we have 12 good mood boosters for you for the Christmas period.

  1. Take a family walk in the park

  2. Drive around and see the Christmas lights in your neighborhood

  3. Dance to some Christmas songs!

  4. Have a go at ice skating

  5. Bake some festive treats

  6. Watch Christmas movies

  7. Make some ornaments for the Christmas tree

  8. Wear your favorite Christmas jumper

  9. Spend time with family

  10. Spend time with friends

  11. Put together a Christmas quiz for your family

  12. Sit in front of the fire with a hot drink

We know that Christmas can be a stressful time but try to take the time to remember to be thankful, spend quality time with your family, and enjoy yourself.

Holidays… Happy, Or Horrible?

The holidays are commonly perceived as a happy, festive, food-filled time to see family, be thankful and spend time with loved ones.

And while this might be the case for a lot of people, a lot of people find the holidays a very difficult time of year, with limited support, lack of understanding and a general sense of loneliness.

Here are some reasons why the holidays can be a difficult time for some people:

  • You are expected to always be happy

  • You feel obliged to spend a lot of time with family and constantly be energetic and happy

  • You feel that you should be grateful, and thankful

  • Teens are stressed about finals and college applications

  • There is more social interaction than you might be used to

Often, teens are the ones that struggle with the holiday season, so here are five tips for helping your teen manage the holidays:

  • Give your teen space

  • Give them permission to be sad even at the holidays

  • Turn off the Christmas carols if they’re not in the mood

  • Allow them to skip a Christmas party if they don’t feel up to it

  • Acknowledge with your teen that it’s ok to not feel happy at Christmas

As a parent, it can be difficult to see your teen not enjoying the holiday season, but give the above tips a try and see if they help.

We would love for you to reply to this email and let us know if you tried any of the tips and if they helped your teen this holiday season.

Tis The Season For Stress

We hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and now it’s the month for Christmas! The holiday season is very busy and teens often find this time of the year stressful, with Christmas planning, exam season, and spending lots of time together as a family.

Here are some reasons why teens might find the holidays a stressful time:

  • A change, and lack of routine

  • Not seeing their friends as much

  • More pressure to spend time with family and friends

  • The pressure to study for finals

  • Completing college applications

Here are some ideas of ways that you can support your teen(s) throughout the holidays:

  • Allow them some space to be alone

  • Acknowledge that they are under a lot of stress

  • Offer your support as a parent

  • Allow them to skip some social events if they don’t feel up to it

Your teen might need a bit more support than usual during the holiday’s but it’s important to remember that they are going through a lot at this time of year and your support might be just the thing they need.

If your teen needs a little extra support this holiday season give us a call!

5 Steps To Staying Emotionally Strong

Let’s face it. Life is going to happen and it won’t always be happy. We can often let circumstances emotionally overwhelm us and at times it feels as if an avalanche of emotions is overtaking us. 

This is especially true for teens who are already adjusting to emerging hormones that are playing havoc with their emotions. Add to that, a brain that is not yet fully developed and social situations which magnify their sensitivities and you have a recipe for an emotional potboiler. 

At Mindful Healing, we believe that there are techniques your teen can learn to help them navigate the emotional minefields that assault them as they are learning to transition to adulthood. The key to this is following 5-steps, 5 simple steps to staying emotionally strong through all the turmoil. 

Just follow the acronym. PLEASE:

PL: Physical wellness and well-being. When your teen is tired, sick, not taking needed medications, they are going to be overwhelmed by the slightest disappointment, least of all, the occasions for the big emotional events in their lives. When they get sick, they need to see the doctor, take their meds and do all that they can to ensure their physical well-being.

E: Exercise. Part of good physical self-care is exercise. We now know that exercise not only reduces stress but actually changes the brain into making it a healthier one. Consequently, exercise becomes part of the foundation for staying emotionally strong. Yoga, aerobics, strengthening and stretching exercises all contribute to your teens emotional as well as physical well-being.

A: Avoid drugs and alcohol. Drugs may give temporary relief. Your teen may say that marijuana, for example, “makes me feel less anxious.” Your teen’s brain is not the same as an adult’s and what they need to learn is how to manage their emotions, emotions that won’t always be so intense, without drugs that will help them escape from their feelings. Being emotionally strong means being able to handle your feelings without becoming crushed by them!

S: Sleep well. This means a regular bedtime and rising time, even on weekends. It means a minimum of 8 hrs sleep, and for most teens, 8-10 per night. Do remember also, that regular exercise can help teens to sleep better. 

E: Eat balanced meals. Food provides the physical building blocks of our emotional systems. Without the proper balance of proteins, good fats and carbs, your teen will have a harder time coping with their emotions, especially crises. 

Just remember, that if they can PLEASE their bodies through healthy habits, they will become a lot more resilient and emotionally stronger!

Want to help your teen learn to manage their emotions? Contact us. 

Helping Teens Focus On What Is Good

One thing that can increase suffering for teens is they have a tendency to be so focused on the negative events in their lives that they begin to emphasize them at the expense of the good. If life were a series of peaks and valleys, some teens would count only the valleys and ignore or minimize all the peaks. This can lead to increased depression, isolation, and even impact their friendships. 

As parents, you are often trying to help your teens see the positive or the “silver lining.” May get responses like, “you just don’t understand,” or “you never listen to me,” or “that’s not how it works.” 

WHAT CAN YOU DO? 

At Mindful Healing, we encourage teens to start accumulating positive events and writing them down, or scrapbooking them, or doing collages, or engaging in other artistic expressions that helps them change that mental habit of connecting only the valleys.  

What are some of the things your teen would count as positive in their lives? Favorite foods? Recognition from peers and in what way? Awards? Family events? Favorite holidays? Family trips? Movies? Books that really spoke to them? Recreational activities that they would like to remember? A list of three things to be grateful for each day?  

You too can help your teen by encouraging them to find that silver lining and help them see how brightly it can shine!

If your teen would benefit from coping skills. Contact us.