Monday was my first DBT group meeting. It was…interesting? Not sure if that’s the word for it, but it’s a start.
First off, the group is all women. Two women co-leaders and I dunno, maybe 8 or 9 group members (one is leaving next week). That’s all well and good but quite frankly, I don’t like being in that large of a group of women. Women get catty and manipulative. I relate better to men overall. Maybe that’s just my deficit.
There wasn’t anything personal about introductions – just “what’s your favorite flavor of ice cream” which was weird to me because I’m used to intros that go into either a) what you do for a living, or b) what your mental illness issues are. Well, obviously, everyone there has emotion/relationship/distress management issues, so I guess the rest doesn’t matter.
Second, I started a week late due to my travel schedule. We went over core mindfulness, reviewing the whole emotional mind/rational mind/wise mind thing. Some people gave examples from the week prior. We went over that in the intake interview, so I wasn’t surprised or behind on that topic.
Then they explained the “what” skills – observe, describe, participate. OK, fine. Pretty basic, at least to me, and I felt like they spent forever explaining really simple, obvious things. I was bored. I was doodling almost the whole time, which made me feel a bit self-conscious, but with unmedicated ADD it’s one of the few things I can do in that sort of situation to keep my behavior in line. As it was, I was having a hard time not interrupting, but then also having a hard time knowing when to speak up.
After the “what” skills we started talking about the “how” skills. It really only went into being non-judgmental and how to recognized judgmental thinking and correct for it. Again, boring. If anything, I go to the opposite extreme of being overly reserved in passing judgment. It’s totally beaten into me via professional training. Although my Meyers-Briggs tests always show me as a “judging” type, that’s not the same as passing negative judgments.
So this week’s homework is to 1) identify a judgment about myself, someone else, or a situation, 2) describe reasons for letting go of the judgment, 3) replace judgment with descriptions of facts, consequences, and/or preferences (which I already do automatically), 4) practice accepting nonjudgmental descriptions and letting go of the judgments (seriously?), 5) remember not to judge my judging (WTF?!?), and 6) describe any changes I notice in my acceptance or emotions from practicing nonjudgmental stance.
I can do this in about 10 minutes, max. Actually coming up with the judgment is harder. Maybe I’ll go with, “this homework is boring and stupid.” At least that would be an honest one. Next week (I think/hope) we will start on distress tolerance, which sounds much more useful to me. It would really help to be able to better tolerate distress, don’t you think?