Any DBT Skills Training program is intended to support you in building a life worth living. As you try to Live the Life you Want to Live, there are many things that are going to come up for you. These difficult emotional experiences are tied to the behavioural responses that are triggered by the activation of a personal story tied to the contextual framework af a particular childhood schema. As you will hear me say to people in group over and over again, mainly because I have a tendency of repeating myself, there has to be an understanding that failure is an expected part of the process when trying to change behaviours.
The most important thing to understand about failing is, when something fails, it's not you that is the failure, it's the action that you took that failed. This is the distinction between a person being a failure, and that person taking an action that failed. When we look at failing from this perspective, we can own it as part of the process, instead of avoiding it, beating ourselves up about it, and falling into old behaviours to cope with guilt and shame. When we own our actions as failing and detach from the Internal Critic that's pushing the story of guilt and shame, we can actually take a look at what we did, or didn’t do, from a dialectical perspective and understand what it was that might’ve contributed to the outcome we wanted to achieve. Remember, someone once said to me, “you will always achieve in life what your lifestyle has you set up to achieve,” and as I've developed my own personal journey, I consistently find the evidence for this statement to be true in so many different aspects of my life.
"When something fails, it's not you that is the failure, it's the action that you took that failed. This is the distinction between a person being a failure, and that person taking an action that failed."~Steven Morris RP.
Analyzing our own behaviour allows us to figure out what causes us to make the choices we make that ultimately lead to the actions we take. It also helps build an understanding for what leads us to continue making these choices, even though they may be hurting our ability to Live the Life we Want to Live. Knowing these things is extremely important for anyone wanting to make behaviour changes in their own recovery journey. The analysis process builds our understanding for the different parts of our personality we are blended with at any given point in time. Without knowing what it is we could've done differently, it is incredibly difficult to plan for different actions in similar experiences in the future. Knowing what we could've done differently is not about finding excuses, or beating ourselves up about the things we didn't do. It's about providing the possibility of activating change.
The intention of this section of any DBT Skills Training program is to develop our ability to analyse our own behaviours when a part of our personality has acted in a way that we did not intend to act. We do this for the primary purpose of understanding, and providing reason, not excuses, as to why we did what we did. The ability to analyse our own behaviour is a key component of any process of behaviour change. During the early stages of this work, we usually need support with this aspect of our journey in order to guide us through recognizing the general rigidity of our thoughts and to develop the necessary behaviours required to cope with the chaos of the lifestyle we have created to this point.
These fundamental skills are a particularly important aspect of the Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Training program, and I have adapted some of the language of these skills to fit our understanding of a multiplistic personality system. On the following pages you will find a brief description of the skills we want to use to help us with Self-Analysis. Take some time to go over them, try to add them to you daily routine, and if you want to get more information, come join one of the multiple groups I facilitate, live online, every week.
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