dbt skill

for all of the other sweet borderlions and cluster b’s out there, this is a free online dbt course, with worksheets/homeworks/a nice little community to talk to.

even if you’re not borderline or cluster b, it would be really sweet if you’d reblog this so more people can see it! :)

Boundary Myths

Myth: If I set Boundaries, I’m being selfish.
Fact: Appropriate boundaries actually increase our ability to care about others.

Myth: Boundaries are a sign of disobedience.
Fact: A lack of boundaries is often a signal of disobedience. People who have shaky limits are often compliant on the outside, but rebellious and resentful on the inside.

Myth: If I begin setting boundaries, I will be hurt by others.
Fact: Boundaries are a litmus test for the quality of our relationships. Those people in our lives who can respect our boundaries will love our wills, our opinions, our separateness.

Myth: If I set boundaries, I will hurt others.
Fact: Boundaries are not an offensive weapon; boundaries are a defensive tool. Appropriate boundaries don’t control, attack, or hurt anyone. They simply prevent injury.

Myth: Boundaries mean that I am angry.
Fact: Anger tells us that a boundary has been violated. This is generally not new anger, it’s old anger. It’s often years of no’s that were never voiced, never respected, and never listened to.

Myth: When others set boundaries, it injures me.
Fact:  An inability to accept other’s boundaries can indicate a problem in taking responsibility.
Fact: Past, inappropriate boundaries set on us as children can injure us.

Myth: Boundaries cause feelings of guilt.
Fact: We need to distinguish between those who give to get and those who truly give.
Fact: Just because we have received something doesn’t mean we owe something.

Myth: Boundaries are permanent, and I’m afraid of burning my bridges.
Fact: You own your boundaries. They don’t own you.
Fact: If you set limits with someone, and they respond in a mature and loving way, you can negotiate the boundary.

Could & Townsend, 1992, ps. 103-120

Therapist: You have to learn to walk the middle path
Me, a borderline: is that the one to the left or the right?


DBT Self-Help Resources: Ways to Describe Emotions

To be used with Emotion Regulation Worksheets 4, 4a

Also look at: Emotions List -  Using an Emotions List to help Label an Emotion

Search results for Emotion Dysregulation - Definition of Emotion Dysregulation

Source: Marsha M. Linehan (2015) DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition The Guilford Press

Copyright 2015 by Marsha M. Linehan.

DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets - Mindfulness Skills Masterpost

DBT Self-Help  Resources: The following are the links to all the handouts and accompanying worksheets contained within the Module 1 - Mindfulness Skills of Marsha Linehan’s DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, 2nd Edition published in 2015.

Mindfulness Skills Handouts:

Handouts for Goals and Definitions

Mindfulness Handout 1: Goals of Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness Handout 1a: Mindfulness Definitions

Handouts for Core Mindfulness Skills

Mindfulness Handout 2: Overview - Core Mindfulness Skills

Mindfulness Handout 3: Wise Mind - States of Mind

Mindfulness Handout 3a: Ideas for Practicing Wise Mind

Mindfulness Handout 4: Taking Hold of Your Mind - “What” Skills

Mindfulness Handout 4a: Ideas for Practicing Observing

Mindfulness Handout 4b: Ideas for Practicing Describing

Mindfulness Handout 4c: Ideas for Practicing Participating

Mindfulness Handout 5: Taking Hold of Your Mind - “How” Skills

Mindfulness Handout 5a: Ideas for Practicing Nonjudgmentalness

Mindfulness Handout 5b: Ideas for Practicing One-Mindfulness

Mindfulness Handout 5c: Ideas for Practicing Effectiveness

Handouts for Other perspectives on Mindfulness Skills

Mindfulness Handout 6: Overview - Other Perspectives on Mindfulness

Mindfulness Handout 7: Goals of Mindfulness Practice - A Spiritual Perspective

Mindfulness Handout 7a: Wise Mind from a Spiritual Perspective

Mindfulness Handout 8: Practicing Loving Kindness to Increase Love and Compassion

Mindfulness Handout 9: Skillful Means - Balancing Doing Mind and Being Mind

Mindfulness Handout 9a: Ideas for Practicing Doing Mind and Being Mind

Mindfulness Handout 10: Walking the Middle Path - Finding the Synthesis between Opposites

Mindfulness Skills Worksheets:

Worksheets for Core Mindfulness Skills

MIndfulness Worksheet 1: Pros and Cons of Practicing Mindfulness

Mindfulness Worksheet 2: Mindfulness Core Skills Practice

Mindfulness Worksheet 2a: Mindfulness Core Skills Practice

Mindfulness Worksheet 2b: Mindfulness Core Skills Practice

Mindfulness Worksheet 2c: Mindfulness Core Skills Calendar

Mindfulness Worksheet 3: Wise Mind Practice

Mindfulness Worksheet 4: Mindfulness “What” Skills - Observing, Describing, Participating

Mindfulness Worksheet 4a: Observing, Describing, Participating Checklist

Mindfulness Worksheet 4b: Observing, Describing, Participating Calendar

Mindfulness Worksheet 5:  Mindfulness “How” Skills - Nonjudgmentalness, One-Mindfulness, Effectiveness

Mindfulness Worksheet 5a: Nonjudgmentalness, One-Mindfulness, Effectiveness Checklist

Mindfulness Worksheet 5b: Nonjudgmentalness, One-Mindfulness, Effectiveness Calendar

Mindfulness Worksheet 5c: Nonjudgmentalness Calendar

Worksheets for Other Perspectives on Mindfulness Skills:

Mindfulness Worksheet 6: Loving Kindness

Mindfulness Worksheet 7: Balancing Being Mind with Doing Mind

Mindfulness Worksheet 7a: Mindfulness of Being and Doing Calendar

Mindfulness Worksheet 8: Mindfulness of Pleasant Events Calendar

Mindfulness Worksheet 9: Mindfulness of Unpleasant Events Calendar

Mindfulness Worksheet 10: Walking the Middle Path to Wise Mind

Mindfulness Worksheet 10a: Analyzing Yourself on the Middle Path

Mindfulness worksheet 10b: Walking the Middle Path Calendar

Source: Marsha M. Linehan (2015) DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition The Guilford Press

Copyright 2015 by Marsha M. Linehan.

Pick One A Day ...

Here are some ideas of things you can do to make you feel like you have achieved something. This can be helpful to do once a week, once a day or just on a bad day… I personally to one or two things everyday. To keep myself striving forwards…. See what takes your fancy!! 

1. Spend uninterrupted time with family or children

2. Go shopping for items you NEED (Toiletries, groceries etc.) stick to a list and a budget

3. Go to the bank, balance your account…Pay off some money…Cash that cheque etc. 

4. Go to work or do some work from home

5. Finish a task you have been delaying

6. Ask for help with a task you are finding hard

7. Challenge yourself by completing a new task without help

8. Help your child with their homework (little sister or brother….) 

9. Wash the dishes or load the dishwasher

10. Wash your clothes and sheets or take them to the launderette

11. Hang up your clothes

12. Fix something that needs repairs or a new button or battery

13. Clean your room or bathroom

14. Take a shower or have a bath (wash your hair, exfoliate, face mask etc.) 

15. Organise a shelf, drawer etc.

16. Prepare a healthy meal for yourself (and others) 

17. Write a letter or email to someone you have been thinking about, miss or who you have been avoiding. (An older relative might love a letter!) 

18. Take care of the way you look (Bleach your roots, dye your hair, paint your nails, cut your toenails, straighten your hair) This can boost confidence too. 

19. Do something creative…. Cut up last years calendar and make a collage for your room. Achievement and art!! 

20. Take your car for a service

21. Plant some seeds, or do some weeding

22. Redecorate your room, or move furniture around to make it more spacious

23. Take care of your physical health; make an appointment for a health check with your GP or just take the steps for that needed visit you have been putting off

24. Get involved in your local community; offer to walk the dog for a neighbour, volunteer, ask your sister if she needs a babysitter…

25. Return a phone call you have been avoiding

26. Resolve a situation or conflict that has been bothering you in life 

27. Take your pet to the vet; or just give them a good brush or long walk.

28. Do some exercise; go for a walk (or run), have a good stretch, do an exercise DVD etc.

29. Help someone you care about

30. Pay some bills, or make a monthly budget.

Figuring out Opposite Actions

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out your initial emotion that you know you need to act opposite to, and once you do, it’s still hard to figure out how to act opposite.  This post will deal with common emotions and how to act opposite to them.

1. Fear: Fear fits the facts when there is a threat to your or someone else’s life, health, or well-being.  However, when it doesn’t fit the facts, it’s important to act opposite and do what you are afraid of doing over and over again.  Seek out opportunities to act opposite to your fear.  Keep your eyes open, take in information, breathe deeply, and keep a confident posture and tone. 

2. Anger: Anger fits the facts when a desired goal is blocked, you or someone are attacked, hurt, insulted, or threatened.  When it doesn’t fit the facts, opposite action would be to avoid the person making you angry, take a time out, do something nice, imagine empathy for the other person, keep your body from being tense, and breathe deeply. 

3. Disgust: Disgust fits the facts when you are in contact with something contaminating, someone you don’t like is touching you or someone you care about, you are around a person or group whose behavior could be damaging.  Opposite action to disgust is to move close to the disgusting thing, be kind to those you find disgusting, imagine empathy for the person or group you find disgusting, take in what feels repulsive instead of tuning it out, and keep your body relaxed.  Also, distract from disgusting thoughts and refocus on sensations.

4. Envy: Envy fits the facts when another person has what you don’t have or has something you need.  When envy doesn’t fit the facts, acting opposite involves not destroying what the other person has, counting your blessings, stop exaggerating what others have, keep your body from being tense, and breathing deeply.  

5. Jealousy: Jealousy fits the facts when something in your life that is very important to you has the danger of being taken away.  When jealousy doesn’t fit the facts, acting opposite involves sharing what you do have, letting go of others’ controlling actions, stop snooping/spying, don’t avoid, keepy a relaxed posture, and breathing deeply.   

6. Shame: Shame fits the facts when you will be rejected by a person you care about if something about yourself, like a behavior, is made public.  Opposite action when your behavior doesn’t violate your morals is to make your behavior public with people who won’t reject you, engage in the behavior in public repeatedly, don’t apologize, and keep body posture proud and innocent.  Opposite action for shame when your behavior does violate your own morals is the apologize publicly, repair and make things better, don’t use the behavior in the future, and accept the consequences.  The final way to act opposite action to shame is to forgive yourself, acknowledge the causes of your behavior, and let it go.

7. Guilt: Guilt fits the facts when your behavior violates your own morals.  Opposite action with guilt is not justified and you will not be rejected if found out are to tell people who won’t reject you, engage in the behavior publicly over and over  Don’t apologize, keep a proud and innocent body posture.  Opposite action for guilt that will lead to you being rejected if found out is to hide or use skillful means to stay in your group, join a new group that fits your values, and do what makes you feel guilty over and over in your new group.  Validate yourself and recognize why you feel guilty.  This of course does not apply to dangerous behaviors.


DBT Self-Help  Resources: Skillful Means: Balancing Doing Mind and Being Mind 

To be used with Mindfulness Worksheets 7 - 9

Mindfulness Worksheet 7 - Balancing Being Mind and Doing Mind

Mindfulness Worksheet 7A - Mindfulness of Being and Doing Calendar

Mindfulness Worksheet 8 - Mindfulness of Pleasant Events Calendar

Mindfulness Worksheet 9 - Mindfulness of Unpleasant Events Calendar

Source: Marsha M. Linehan (2015) DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition The Guilford Press

Copyright 2015 by Marsha M. Linehan.

BPD Is Not A Life Sentence

“One of the most harmful misconceptions about BPD is that it is a life sentence—that people with BPD will struggle with the disorder for their entire lives, and that little can be done about it. The term “personality disorder” does not help the situation, as it implies that there is something fundamentally flawed with an individual’s personality, or who they are as a person.

In fact, there are many reasons for hope. First and foremost, studies have found that rates of recovery from BPD are much higher than previously thought. In one of the longest studies on BPD, Dr. Mary Zanarini and colleagues found that, over 10 years following hospitalization:

86% of people with BPD stopped meeting criteria for BPD for at least four years.

50% of people recovered completely (as shown by no longer meeting BPD criteria and having good social and work functioning)

Many of these people were receiving some kind of treatment, but some were not. Although many people with BPD clearly struggle for a long time, BPD is not a hopeless diagnosis, and many people recover.

A second reason for hope is that treatment works. The most extensively researched treatment for BPD is dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington in Seattle. DBT involves the following:

Weekly individual therapy sessions aimed at helping clients reach their goals, reduce self-destructive behaviours and move forward on a path toward a more fulfilling life.

A weekly training group that teaches skills in the areas of mindfulness (paying attention to the present), emotion regulation (understanding and managing emotions), interpersonal effectiveness (dealing with relationships and acting assertively), and distress tolerance (surviving crises, and accepting yourself for who you are)

Availability of the therapist by phone, e-mail, or other means in between sessions when help is needed.

Several rigorous clinical trials have shown that DBT works. In my own experience, I’ve seen clients improve their lives and relationships, achieve goals they never thought they could achieve, reduce their suffering, and even use what they’ve learned to help others in their lives and in the mental health community.

Aside from DBT, other promising psychological treatments have emerged in recent years, further showing that there is hope for recovery from BPD: mentalization-based therapy (MBT), schema-focused therapy (SFT) and transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP).

Medication also can be helpful for people with BPD (especially mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotic medications, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs). Experts caution, however, that treatment by medication alone, without any psychological treatment or therapy, is not advisable.

The bottom line is that BPD is not a life sentence: Many people recover and sustain their recovery, and effective treatments exist.”

Grounding tip:

I disassociate really hard in the car because my head doesn’t connect transportation? It’s more one location > inside car > new place without grasping the movement part.
So I’ve found cracking a window to feel/hear wind and making an effort to watch things pass by every once in a while prevents major disassociation when I arrive to my destination ^_^

Safety Plan

It’s important to make a safety plan to recognize triggers, plan for distressing events, and plan how to cope ahead.  Below, I’ve posted an outline of a safety plan with examples.  I encourage you to come up with your own ideas and make your own safety plan!

Triggers (when these things happen I am more likely to feel unsafe or upset): examples include meals, holidays, work stress, loud noise

Thoughts/Inside Warning Signs (these are things I may notice just before I feel unsafe or upset): examples include hopeless, worthless, loss of interest, thinking about death, feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated

Other Warning Signs (things other people may notice just before I feel unsafe or upset): examples include isolating myself, less talkative, irritable, increased anxiety

Things that help me stay better now (this that help me calm down or stay safe): examples include crafts, talking to friends, grounding, reading, music, writing lists, playing with pets

Things that help me stay well (things I do consistently that help me stay safe): examples include taking my medication, therapy, seeing a psychiatrist, staying in a routine

Changes in my environtment for me/others to make: examples include getting rid of sharps, monitoring medications, stay away from alcohol and drugs, creating a safe space, keeping my environment clean

Things that make me feel worse (things that do not help me calm down or stay safe): examples include alcohol, weighing myself, restricting, bingeing, purging, self-injury, being invalidated, poor sleep, being overwhelmed

When I notice triggers/warning signs, I will take action by (what I can do to prevent things from getting worse) - doing the following things: examples include using coping skills, reaching out, therapy - calling the following people: friends, family

When others notice that I am getting upset, I would like them to (what others can do to prevent things from getting worse): examples include listening to me, don’t judge me, don’t invalidate me

If I am experiencing a crisis, I would like the following people to be contacted: example includes your parents, parent, friend, therapist, psychiatrist

Finally, make a list of support hotlines, crisis text numbers, and mental health resources in your community so it is all in one place for easy access.  

Psychology Book Recommendations

Foundational Authors & Works

Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person

B. F. Skinner,  Beyond Freedom and Dignity and About Behaviorism and Walden Two

Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents

John Norcross (editor), Evidence-Based Practices in Mental Health

Psychopathology & Diagnosis 

David Barlow (editor), Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders

Oliver Saks, Hallucinations

Kelly Lambert, Clinical Neuroscience

Criticisms & Controversial Topics

Stephen Hinshaw, The ADHD Explosion

Robert Whitaker, Mad in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic

Ronald Miller, Not So Abnormal Psychology

Allen Frances, Saving Normal

Bruce Wampold, The Great Psychotherapy Debate

Therapy Theories 

Carl Rogers, Client-Centered Therapy

Irvin Yalom, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy

Aaron Beck, Cognitive Therapy of Depression

Steven Hayes, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Judith Beck, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Danny Wedding, Current Psychotherapies

William Miller, Motivational Interviewing

Jacqueline Person, Cognitive Therapy in Practice

Evidence-Based Therapy Manuals 

Marsha Linehan, DBT Skills Training Manual and Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder

Michelle Craske, Mastery of Your Anxiety and Panic

David Burns, Feeling Good

Richard Zinbarg, Mastery of Your Anxiety and Worry

Martha Davis, The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook

Lisa Najavitis, Seeking Safety

Expert Therapist Perspectives

Irvin Yalom, The Gift of Therapy and Love’s Executioner

First Person Perspectives

Kay Jamison, An Unquiet Mind

Elyn Saks, The Center Cannot Hold

William Styron, Darkness Visible

Carolyn Spiro and Pamela Spiro Wagner, Divided Minds

Research Design & Analysis

Alan Kazdin, Research Design in Clinical Psychology and Single-Case Research Designs

John Creswell, Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design

Culture & Diversity

Derald Wing Sue, Counseling the Culturally Diverse and Case Studies in Multicultural Counseling and Therapy


Stephen Hinshaw, Breaking the Silence and  The Mark of Shame

Grad School and Careers in Psychology

Peggy Hawley, Being Bright is Not Enough

Adam Ruben, Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School

Peter Feibelman, A PhD is Not Enough

Paul Silva, How to Write A Lot

Karen Kelsky, The Professor Is In 

DBT Self-Help Resources: Ideas for practicing non-judgmentalness

To be used with Mindfulness Worksheets 2-2c:

2, 2A and 2B - Mindfulness Core Skills Practice

2C - Mindfulness Core Skills Calender

And Mindfulness Worksheets 5-5c:

5 - Mindfulness “How Skills”: Non-judgmentalness, One-mindfulness, Effectiveness

5a - Non-judgmentalness, One-mindfulness, Effectiveness Checklist

5b - Non-judgmentalness, One-mindfulness, Effectiveness Calendar

5c - Non-judgmentalness Calendar

Source: Marsha M. Linehan (2015) DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition The Guilford Press

Copyright 2015 by Marsha M. Linehan.

Sleep Hygiene Protocol

Sleep is a very important part of maintaining your mental health.  It’s part of the PLEASE skills!  You can’t be mentally healthy without being physically healthy.  There is a specific sleep hygiene protocol you can follow to increase the likelihood of restfulness/sleep.  

1. Develop and follow a consistent sleep schedule

2. Do not use your bed for other activities

3. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, exercise, and heavy meals late in the day

4. Turn off the light and keep the room quiet and temperature comfortable or cool

5. Remind yourself that losing sleep is not a catastrophe

6. Give yourself half an hour to at most an hour to fall asleep.  If you can’t fall asleep you could try one of the following: counting to ten at least ten times, reading, listen to the radio at a low volume, focus on the bodily sensation of the ruminating if your find yourself ruminating, use TIP skills if anxious, imagine coping with a catastrophe you are worried about, eat a light snack, remind yourself in the morning you will feel differently