Self-Help Quick-Start
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Self-Help Quick-Start
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  1. About and Rules (if you haven’t already).

  2. Crisis Resources

    1. If you are currently experiencing a crisis please utilize these resources or contact emergency services. This support group is not designed for crisis assistance.
    2. For a minor, non-threatening emergency my skill recommendation is one of the TIPP skills. TIPP is the best set of emergency coping skills for most people new to DBT because it uses your body’s natural reflexes that are already there. You could also try looking at some of the other skills in the Distress Tolerance module, but TIPP takes less practice for most people. Do not overuse distress tolerance skills like TIPP. You can build up a tolerance similar to how people develop tolerance to medications and substances. You need to keep going and learn more sustainable skills and learn how to keep your distress tolerance skills working over time.
    3. If it’s another person you’re having a problem with, you’re almost definitely looking for DEAR MAN or FAST from the Interpersonal Effectiveness module. (Usually DEAR man if you’re trying to get them to do something and FAST if you need them to stop doing something).
    4. For general skills advice try the Which Skill? group.
  3. Peer support is recommended as an important part of a recovery plan that also includes professional therapy. Here are some ways to locate a therapist in your area. Try to commit to contacting one provider a day until you have an appointment.

  4. If you are waiting for a first mental health appointment, it can help to develop a safety plan. This is a list of your personal coping mechanisms to try, people to talk to, places to go, and crisis resources to contact. This plan can help you temporarily avoid going to the ER or being hospitalized while you wait for an outpatient appointment. There are more examples in the printables community. However you create this plan, keep it somewhere you can always get to quickly like your wallet, car, or pinned to the top of your notes app.

  5. Get a DBT workbook. Here is where to buy the official up to date version from the Linehan Institute (and where to get a bootleg version off the internet).

  6. Get a diary card or mood tracker app and fill it out as close to once a day as possible throughout each week. This is kinda like meta-mindfulness. In addition to being more in-the-moment, you’re also going to learn to check-in with yourself regularly and think about how your moods affect your behavior (and how your behavior affects your mood!). You can also find examples of these in the printables magazine. A therapist would go over this diary card with you weekly. This would be a highly public forum to be posting that much detail about your life, so posting your entire diary card publicly each week is discouraged. You are encouraged to review sensitive details with someone you trust and whose opinion you respect, ideally a licensed therapist. If you’d like to post little overall updates and thoughts on your diary card, use the blog that’s part of your account.

  7. Go through the modules one skill per week, which will take about 6 months. Try to find a way to apply that skill in your daily life at least once during that week. Do mindfulness for again in-between each of the other Modules. Once you are in a formal skills group, follow along wherever they are currently. Most people need at least two full cycles through all of the skills before they understand them well, or about a year total. Some need even more repetitions, and if that’s you, that’s fine and a normal variation. You could also take a break after one year and revisit the therapy at a later time. Different places and workbooks list the skills different ways and in different orders. This is my recommended order as a peer who has completed the program and who knows nothing about you personally:

Mindfulness is the most important module in DBT and one of the hardest to master. It can be hard for beginners, so if you’re having a lot of trouble, watch a meditation video the first week then skip to distress tolerance.

  1. Wise Mind (Dialectics, Dualities, and “AND” Statements)
  2. Observe -> Describe -> Participate
  3. Nonjudgmental stance
  4. One-mindfully and Effectiveness (Life ain’t fair, do what works)
  5. Radical Acceptance
  6. Quick Meditation videos for people who struggle with mindfulness

Distress Tolerance

  1. TIPP and STOP
  2. Turning the Mind and Opposite to Emotion Action
  3. Pros and Cons
  4. Distract with ACCEPTS and IMPROVE the Moment
  5. Sensory Self-Soothe

Interpersonal Effectiveness

  1. FAST
  2. DEAR MAN
  3. GIVE

Emotion Regulation

  1. PLEASE reduce vulnerability
  2. Check the Facts
  3. Build Mastery
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