Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD). Yet, it also can be helpful for non-BPDs and for people with problematic emotional states. Today, I will talk about a DBT skill called “Teflon Mind”.
What is Teflon Mind?
Teflon Mind is a skill within the Core Mindfulness Module of DBT. DBT is comprised of 4 “modules”:
- Core Mindfulness
- Emotional Regulation
- Interpersonal Effectiveness
- Distress Tolerance
Teflon Mind is part of the “Observe” portion of DBT’s Mindfulness. Teflon Mind is intended to prevent emotional dysregulation, defensiveness and judgmental responses. When we use Teflon Mind you:
- Notice what is happening around you and not react immediately or reflexively.
- Let thoughts, emotions and sensory experiences pass through our mind like clouds passing over a clear sky.
- Focus your attention on the present experience (which is also important in another skill “One Mindfully” which I will cover later) and not allow past disappointments or future fears to color the experience.
- Attend to internal thoughts and feelings as they arise within you.
- Don’t “latch on” to the resulting emotions and don’t follow action impulses to react in an ineffective way.
- Let the emotional experience pass and not take root so that the emotions lead to resentment or ruminating.
Teflon Mind can be a very effective skill when your amid and among others who are expressing powerful emotions.