My Intro to DBT, Breaking the Bucking Bronco

For just about as long as I can remember, my emotions have been akin to a bucking bronco that I was plopped on top of at an early age.

For several years the best I could do was hold on, but in the last ten I have gotten to know the bronco a little bit. Every once in a while I can feed him an apple to win his favor, and I can do a better job of riding all of the ups and downs (instead of just holding on for dear life).

It always unnerved me when people would tell me to get the bronco under control, and that the task should be relatively simple. That I could harness it and use it to ride faster and further than other people. In response to most of those people I simply sat back and, though willing, rather spitefully responded by asking, “how? If you can tell me how, I can do it.”

That is when whatever adult/therapist/boss would get flustered and I would sigh unapologetically. I didn’t need someone to teach me how to ride a bucking bronco, I already knew how to do that. I needed someone to teach me to tame it enough that I could dismount and spend some time on solid ground.

Needless to say I was pretty pleasantly surprised when my first meeting with the DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) group at my local clinic (finally!) did just that. Within two hours there was discussion on how to change from a harmful emotion to a positive one, and all I could think was, where was this group ten years ago?!?

Frankly, I am really excited to have the opportunity to try strategies for managing my bipolar and anxiety symptoms as well as work on my abilities to communicate with others because those are the biggest barriers in my life. DBT might just be the horse whisperer I have been looking for… heck, it practically came with a saddle and a bit!

I am not expecting a miracle, but being desperate for ideas and answers for quite some time I am the sort of person who will not scrimp on doing legwork to get to where I am trying to go. Ultimately I think this group will help me do some great things, and I am excited to absorb as much information as I can to implement some much needed positive changes.

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5 responses to “My Intro to DBT, Breaking the Bucking Bronco

  1. DBT can be a wonderful thing! I’ve been through 3 different 6 week courses. EVERY TIME, I learned more and new things. It’s a very tough process to learn and use, but it truly is worth it! Good luck to you!

  2. I just started a DBT course as well. Hope both of us get a lot out of it!

  3. Hi Sarah, Marsha Linehan, one of the developers of DBT lives in the area. If you have access to the library resources at the UW take a look at her videos. One comment in one of her talks help me stop moping around depressed and get moving on building my life back.

  4. I hope you continue to find the DBT helpful. I’m rather torn on the matter myself. I do make use of some of the skills daily, but I kind of feel like those are things I could have done without it being packaged up as DBT. Going to the group drives me up the wall and feels pointless 95% of the time, but then there will be one enlightening moment and I’ll question my decision to quit.

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