advertisement
avoidance

Focusing on What You Don’t Want Creates Emptiness

One of the very first questions I ask a Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO DBT) client in around session two or three is, “What are your value goals?” This stumps most of my clients. Maybe they say a few things like, “I want to be less depressed,” or “I want to find some friends and be less lonely.” But what you might notice is these are the negative of what the person wants, not actually goals.

Here’s some more things I might hear...


avoidance

Learning to End Relationships Well

This past month I moved from Houston, Texas to Denver, Colorado. It’s always been a dream of mine to live near the mountains, and at 38 years old, I had to ask myself, ‘What am I waiting for?’

Moving states and a therapy practice was challenging enough logistically, but what I didn’t expect was the experience of having to say goodbye to so many people: 45 clients, 12 co-workers, two nieces, my beloved sister, family, and many wonderful friends.

I became a reluctant expert at...


anger

Choose Hope Over Bitterness for the New Year

Many people are happy to say goodbye to 2018 and hope that 2019 has better things in store for them. Yet a single day gone by on the calendar doesn’t bring a change of habits or emotions as quickly as many would like.

Many of the overcontrolled clients I see, tell me they feel resentment, hatefulness, melancholy and discouraged regularly. Hello bitterness! Bitterness is a mood state of anger, hurt, resentment, pessimism and sadness.

Steps to Work through Bitterness

First you have to identify what it’s...


Autism

Hyper Detail-Focused Processing

I sat in my office chair giggling with a client about how he was fired from Dairy Queen for not weighing every “Dilly” bar. Dilly bars are a yummy chocolate coated ice cream bars on a stick.

He smiled as he told me, “After a while, I just knew the right feel. I could operate the machine to dispense the right amount of ice cream, feel the weight in my hand, and just KNEW it was right. I had gotten bored with weighing the Dilly bars, so I decided since I had it down pat, I could skip that step. One day my boss came over, complaining about me not following the procedures. She weighed a few, found they were spot on, and still fired me for insubordination.”

I laughed and responded with, “Hello, hyper detail-focused processing. Looks like it got you into trouble again.”


anger

Emotional Leakage

John and I sat in my office making an agenda for the day’s Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO DBT) session. He looked nervous and fidgeted with his pen.

I said, “Hey, what’s up?”

“I cried in PUBLIC! … at med school,” he said distressingly. “I was sitting in my genetics class and we were talking about some genetic defects that kids develop, and I just started sobbing in my seat. It was horrifying, and I felt sooooo embarrassed.”

I looked at John and said softly, “Sounds like you emotionally leaked.”



General

Learning to Receive Feedback

“Every time you get off the phone with your mom you are in the worst mood!” Charles told his wife, Stacy. Stacy had just been stomping around the kitchen, running her fingers through her hair. She immediately tensed up and glared at him silently....