Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

I’ve done a lot of therapy in my years. Recently, I have done a lot of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT for short. It is a great teaching that focuses on skill-based coping. It is filled with acronyms that frustrate you even once you understand them because they actually work. So yada yada, here’s another poem:


Everybody makes mistakes,
So we take a non-judgmental stance of ourselves and others,
In order to make room for dialectics – or opposing points of view.
This was our mantra for months in DBT.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
A practice that combines ideals from Eastern mindfulness to Cognitive behavioral thoughts.

Ten people crowded at a table set for eight.
The therapist preaching the importance of:
Emotional regulation,
Distress Tolerance,
Core Mindfulness,
And Interpersonal effectiveness.

You see, DBT is its own language
The people who practice it, we are a tribe.
Striving to learn what behaviors to increase and decrease.
Our impulses are like waterfalls.
Rushing, plummeting into a pool.
Whether we cut or drink or smoke.
We all rush.
We all plummet.
And we all find ourselves in that pool of shame.

So DBT teaches us skills.
The language sounds like this:
TIPP, Wise Mind ACCEPTS, Distract, Self-Soothe, Radical Acceptance, and DEAR MAN.

Translated into English it sounds like this:
Run, contribute, watch TV, light a candle, accept the intolerable, and communicate.

The ideas are taught to the ten of us squished at that table.
With the intention that our life will seem worth living.
These skills are hard, but common sense.
We practice these skills and slowly we wade out of that pool of shame.
And there, in the shallow waters, away from rapids –
We see land –
A life worth living.



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