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Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based, rigidly structured psychotherapeutic intervention. It was developed by Psychologist Marsha M. Linehan in the late 1980s as a means to more effectively treat individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), suffering from chronic suicidal ideation. DBT combines techniques from western cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psycho-educational modules, and eastern mindfulness-based practices to foster the systematic learning of new emotional coping skills. It is carried out in three therapeutic settings, including weekly individual psychotherapy (one-on-one therapy) sessions; weekly DBT skills training group therapy sessions, and access to twenty-four-hour support between sessions via phone coaching. Dialectical behavior therapy specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four areas, known as the four modules which are core mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. Typically, the DBT core mindfulness module is the first area of focus, and it is entirely dedicated to cultivating mindfulness.

What Is Mindfulness?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines mindfulness as “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.” The University of Minnesota share the three most important characteristics of mindfulness, which include:

  • Intention to cultivate deliberate awareness (and return to it repeatedly).
  • Attention to what is occurring in the present moment (simply observing thoughts, feelings, sensations as they arise) while remaining nonreactive.
  • Attitude that is non-judgmental, curious, and kind (not seeing things as good or bad, nor through the filter of personal judgments based on past conditioning, but rather seeing things as they are).

Although many people consider mindfulness to be a form of meditation, Positive Psychology clarifies mindfulness as a quality, whereas mediation is a practice. Further, mindfulness more accurately describes a specific way of living which can be cultivated through practice.

Practicing Core Mindfulness Skills

The Mayo Clinic explains that the practice of mindfulness involves focusing on “being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment without interpretation or judgment.” There is a wide breadth of mindfulness strategies introduced during the DBT core mindfulness module. Many of these mindfulness enhancing techniques can be seamlessly integrated into typical daily routines, such as:

  • Doing one thing at a time: instead of attempting to multitask, try tackling one thing at a time. This can allow you to dedicate your undivided attention to completing each task accurately and efficiently. 
  • Observing your breathing: take a few minutes each day to cast your wandering thoughts aside and focus only on your breathing. 
  • Taking regular mini breaks throughout your day: use these breaks to do a quick body check and see where you may be feeling tension, exhaustion, or any unwanted feelings. Add your focused breathing to your breaktime to release and let go of anything that you do not want in your mental, emotional, and/ or physical body and reenergize. 
  • Taking a walk: take an intentional walk where you focus on how your physical body feels, notice the movements of your legs and areas of your body that must be engaged to continue your walk, pay attention to the lifting and falling of your feet, to the pace of your stride, etc. 

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

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