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This is DeeDee on DBT. Cranky, cranky DeeDee.

Blah, blah, blah, DBT. Are you sick of this yet? I figure a bunch of you must be since these posts are not getting a whole lot of traffic. And to be fair, I’ve had a really bad attitude about it lately. It’s hard to want to spend time on something that doesn’t seem to be showing the desired results. My attempts to maintain an open mind are faltering.

Anyway. This week we went over a handout with suggestions for practicing Interpersonal Effectiveness (IE) skills. A bunch of the suggestions are surefire routes to douchebaggery. Like “go to a luncheonette or lunch counter during a slack time and ask for a glass of water, drink it, say ‘Thank you,’ and walk out again.” Seriously? I don’t think they even had “luncheonettes” or even “lunch counters” anymore in the 1990’s. I sure never encountered one.

Then we moved on to the first set of actual skills for IE for this module – guidelines for objective effectiveness: getting what you want. The acronym is “DEAR MAN”:

  • Describe
  • Express
  • Assert
  • Reinforce
  • Mindful
  • Appear confident
  • Negotiate

Each of these items is a step in the process of having a conversation with someone about whatever it is that you want – describe the situation, express your feelings and opinions, assert yourself by asking for what you want or saying no clearly, reinforce or reward the person ahead of time by explaining consequences. In the process, one must stay mindfully focused on your objectives, put on the appearance of confidence and competency, and be willing to negotiate.

There were three things that were useful reminders for me. Two were subpoints under mindful – be a broken record about what you want, and ignore attacks or other attempts to divert your attention. In emotionally-charged situations, that can be really difficult. The other bit was under negotiate, turning the tables and asking the other person for solutions, particularly if you reach an impasse. I often forget that’s an option, but it’s a really effective technique.

This week’s homework assumes that you need to plan out interactions in detail. I do most of these things, but it’s so automatic that the exercise seems silly to me. We’re supposed to come up with a prompting event for the interpersonal interaction, analyze the objective/relationship/self-respect goals, and then write out a script for the DEAR parts and describe strategies for the MAN portion.

I expect I’ll continue to be rebellious and demonstrate my bad attitude by not doing the homework.

The good news, however, is that after the next session there’s a break for Labor Day and then I’m away for two weeks. A three week break from DBT! When I get back, we’ll be halfway through core mindfulness again, and then onto emotion regulation. After that, I’m probably going to call it quits. I’ve given DBT a fair shake, but enough already.

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