Her model promotes learning and practicing skills that help people tolerate distress, regulate their emotions and negotiate relationships effectively.
Accumulating positives can build happiness
POSTED: WEDNESDAY, JULY 1, 2015 4:30 AM
Sound Mind / By Deidre Ashley
When we think about mental health there tends to be a lot of focus on solving problems or reducing symptoms of depression or anxiety. We work on taking care of ourselves by getting the proper amount of sleep and exercise, eating right, taking medications, reducing conflict and reducing stress to ease uncomfortable symptoms.
While those are all key pieces of mental and physical well-being, it is also prudent to avoid overlooking the importance of creating happiness. In an effort to protect ourselves from stress or hurt we sometimes inadvertently create barriers to happiness. We turn our attention to schedules, structures, ideals and things.
Marsha Linehan created a type of therapy — called dialectical behavior therapy — that works on both sides for true mental health. Her model promotes learning and practicing skills that help people tolerate distress, regulate their emotions and negotiate relationships effectively.
Originally the therapy was designed for people dealing with intensive behavior problems — people who were harming themselves, for example, or thinking about suicide. Now the therapy is used for a variety of issues. And it provides good general guidelines for anyone.
Dialectical behavior therapy uses components of cognitive behavior therapy, which explores connections between thoughts, feelings and behavior to change unhelpful patterns of thinking and alter how you feel. The dialectical behavior therapy model combines the components of cognitive behavior therapy with mindfulness to build an awareness of the issues and cultivate a focus on being present in the moment. While many of the skills taught are centered on problem solving, dialectical behavior therapy also emphasizes building a life worth living.