Confusion regarding DBT and Trauma Recovery


DBT Is based a lot about living in the moment and to a big degree, I totally agree with it. We cannot change our past. We can only control what is happening in the present. We can only control our own actions and reactions to things that are happening in the moment.

Here is where I am confused or unsure of regarding DBT and what I believe. DBT can be very helpful for people who have experienced trauma and sometimes DBT is all a trauma survivor needs to use to be able to cope and eventually live a productive life worth living. My confusion is when someone such as myself has been through DBT and used DBT but still feels a void and a need to open the Pandora’s box that has been closed for so long and face the secrets inside themselves using the skills taught by DBT to cope with the uncomfortable feelings these secrets bring up while opening the box and letting them out and sharing them.

Yes DBT says we cannot do anything about the past but our past is what has shaped us to be who we are now and will shape our future unless we deal with it and change how we think about it. DBT Talks about Radical Acceptance which is still probably the hardest DBT skill I have tried to practice and cannot honestly say that I understand it to the extent I need to but I believe I have a better understanding of it than I did back in 1998 when I attended my first DBT Skills Training group when I was 19 years old.

I no longer attend DBT skills training groups but I still see a therapist who runs one and trained in DBT. And at time she has asked me about the skills as a reminder to her regarding what a skill or two is and how best to describe to someone to practice it since she only did the training back in 2007 after I had been seeing her for about a year already and had been in and out of DBT for almost 10 years back in Massachusetts and here in Virginia they were just starting to implement it into the central Virginia area not long before I came here. So I actually take pride in knowing that my knowledge of DBT is needed here even if I it is just here and there. I hope to someday to be able to start and run a peer led DBT group.

They just opened a Peer run recovery walk-in center close by through the local community mental health center but it is run by 2 peer specialist one of who are in one of my human services classes at the local community colleges and I have been building conversation and repertoire with her and hope to bring it up to her someday possibly in the fall.



4 thoughts on “Confusion regarding DBT and Trauma Recovery

  1. >Thank you for sharing! I have been in one DBT group and did not finish it, because I isolate and was absent a couple of times with in a month. I love the concept! I also see a therapist who ran the DBT group in our clinic until her personal life (twins) made it more desirable to cut back work load. I would love to see a learning and support group online. In this type forum, or some sort of gathering forum. Maybe take a part of DBT and have a discussion blog for a week and then meet in an open forum where we can all chat.I am not sure how to go about doing this. However I would find it very very helpful.I like what you are saying.

  2. >I have several different DBT skills workbooks including the orginal one and have gone through DBT several times…I have quite a bit of knowledge regarding my personal experience and interpretation of the skills and how I have used them in my life. I also have these books to refer to if someone has questions regarding a specific skill or needs help with something that my percetion does not fit correcting into the DBT interpretation of a skill… Let me know if there are specific skills you are look for information on or further skills needing help with…

  3. >Thanks for sharing–I have been in and out of DBT for the past 3 years since I was first diagnosed with BPD. I have recently been really interested in the theory about the therapy, and have done a lot of reading in Marsha Linihan's initial book that she wrote regarding DBT. It actually talked about DBT as a good foundation for an individual to have before they deal with Trama issues, but actually says that once an individual has the skills implemented in their life, and can handle distress, that other therapies could be used to actually work through trama issues, with the skills, helping to keep you safe during the process. Hope this is helpful.

  4. >Anon, Thank you for your information. I have also read that but my issue with it is when involved with or after being involved with DBT, seeing the therapist individually is difficult as they know of your DBT background and appear to misunderstand this concept of dealing with the trauma issues and seem to avoid it. Since 1998 when I first started DBT I have had a DBT trained therapist. I have changed therapist and been through a couple who do not seem to grasp my need to face the truth from the past and get through it rather than hold it inside as I have done so long. I believe this is what holds me back from true recovery, MY Secrets. I also need someone as a therapist who is going to be in charge of the session and not just allow me to waste my therapy on minute life stressors that go on throughout my week as if I deal with my trauma I may not hae the minute stressors stressing me if I worked through the major issues inside me that have helped me become a person who allows myself to be taken advantage of, manipulated, and used. I may actually gain some positive outlooks regarding myself and life.

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