Today I would like to share a DBT activity that will increase positive communication within any relationship. We often avoid practicing skills because we get overwhelmed and stuck in patterns. I encourage you to be open and courageous enough to try something new to interrupt a communication pattern that’s causing barriers to a healthier way of dialogue.
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy tries to identify and change negative thinking patterns and pushes for positive behavioral changes.
What’s Unique About Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?
The term “dialectical” comes from the idea that bringing together two opposites in therapy — acceptance and change — brings better results than either one alone.
A unique aspect of DBT is its focus on acceptance of a patient’s experience as a way for therapists to reassure them — and balance the work needed to change negative behaviors. (Resource)
Here are two videos to demonstrate DEAR MAN.
Here is a document to help you practice.
It’s good to practice after an incident and when folks are ready to be in their “wise mind”. In the emotional moment, request to take a pause and agree to come back to the discussion using DEAR MAN when folks are more rational. Stick to one thing and that incident. Don’t try to resolve every issue going on in the relationship or bring up past concerns. For example, if you want to talk about curfew (the video), talk about that only, not the friends, boyfriend, chores, homework, etc. Try to remember that the point of the activity is to support each other, not “win” the argument or for the person to totally get your perspective. As a mom who loves learning and social work, I often fall into this trap. “If I could just impart my wisdom!” Perspective taking should involve understanding the person making the request. “Seek to understand”.
Let me know if you use the skill and how it goes!
Wishing you a beautiful day and great communication!