What Is Wise Mind?

In this video, I discuss the DBT principle of Wise Mind.


Validation and Agreement: What Is the Difference?

Excellent blog article: The 6 Levels of Validation, (from Living with Borderline Personality Disorder). The author summarizes lessons about validation from DBT residential treatment. “Validating,” she observes, “refers to the process of acknowledging and accepting someone’s experiences as valid and understandable. Even if you may not necessarily agree or empathise with the person, recognising that their thoughts, feelings, sensations and behaviours are their reality – and that these experiences are there for a reason – still counts as holding a validating stance.”

Many people who end up in DBT skills training have a learning history involving invalidating environments–in which we are told that our feelings are wrong, out of proportion to the situation, or in other ways unwanted and unacceptable. We learn to discount our own feelings, which usually only leads to trouble. One way to become more self-validating is to practice on others–to think mindfully about how you are responding to the emotional communications of those in your group or among your friends and family. When you get the knack of validating without necessarily agreeing, you may find that communication becomes more genuine and meaningful to you.

What does it mean to validate without agreeing? It helps to start answering this question by outlining the six levels of validation so nicely described in the blog entry:

1–Being present

2–Accurate reflection

3–Accurately guessing the mental states of another

4–Considering a person’s past history and biology

5–Considering and normalizing present events

6–Radical genuineness

Now back to our question: What does it mean to validate without agreeing? Imagine a friend or group member is describing a conversation that this person found difficult or wounding. The speaker is struggling with feelings of anger and indignation. When you hear what happened, you can’t help wondering if the speaker misunderstood what was going on. And yet, (per Validation Level 4) you might also know that this is someone who suffers a great deal from a history of invalidation. So how can you do something different for this person? You can listen carefully (Level 1). You can reflect back what’s being said (Level 2) and what you surmise (Level 3) about the person’s mental states: “You’re feeling really bad about this;” “Wow, I can see how hurt and upset you are.” You can observe that you know what it’s like to feel so distressed (normalizing, Level 5). And having done these things, you might just find that you’ve been radically genuine. In fact, it becomes much easier to be emotionally genuine when we don’t feel pressured to agree where we disagree or compromise our values.

By doing these things in connection with others, we learn a little bit each time about how to respect and care for emotion mind–our own of that of others–even when the emotions are difficult or might not live up to rational mind’s standards of appropriacy. By learning these lessons, we can come to be more accepting of our own states of suffering–which paradoxically is a necessary step in the process of coming to suffer less in the presence of difficult experiences and emotions.

Thank you, BorderlineBabble, for a wonderful entry on validation.

New DBT Group at the Lakeview Center for Psychotherapy

The Lakeview Center is pleased to announce that Kelly Logan, PsyD, will be starting a new DBT Skills Training Group on Monday evenings from 7 to 8:30 pm beginning in November. Please visit our web page for more information about our DBT program and for contact and other information about the group.

Kelly Logan, holds a PsyD from the Adler School of Professional Psychology. She is a therapist at Linden Oaks at Edward Hospital where she is a DBT staff trainer and inpatient therapist.  Kelly received her master’s degree from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2008. She has over ten years’ experience working in outpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, shelter, and inpatient settings with adults and adolescents. Kelly specializes in work with individuals with mood disorders, relationship issues, identity formation, anxiety, self-injury, binge eating, and other impulse control disorders. Kelly has completed trainings in both Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). DBT seeks to empower individuals and enhance their quality of living by providing skills training in areas such as relationship effectiveness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and mindfulness. 

DBT Peer Connections

DBT Peer Connections

Rachel Gill, a four-year veteran of DBT for Borderline Personality Disorder, offers helpful guidance through a range of DBT skills and concepts. If you’re feeling stressed and like you could use a reminder of how DBT helps us self-regulate, click here to have a look at one of her videos.