Therapy is great! It gives us the space to process our thoughts and feelings in an unbiased, judgment-free zone. It helps connect our thoughts, feelings and behaviors in ways that we might not otherwise notice. And, it allows us to see patterns in our behaviors that can often impede our growth.
But sometimes, we simply need to feel better. We need to soothe ourselves, or regulate our emotions, in order to do some of that processing and connecting work.
That’s where a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills group helps. DBT is an evidence-based treatment that helps us with mood regulation, mindfulness, impulsive behaviors, and strengthening our relationships. It provides us with active and behavioral skills and tools to use when we are feeling emotionally heightened.
When we feel like we are ready to explode, breakdown, scream, or punch a hole in the wall, that is not the time to process and explore our feelings. We do that after we’ve had some distance from our emotions, because we have to be vulnerable and willing to be curious about why it is present. But when it’s present, it feels all-consuming, and our main task is deescalate. Then, we can do the other work! But in order to get there, we have to use some DBT skills first.
How does it work?
DBT is split into four skill modules: mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. In each module, one learns over 70 skills! Mindfulness covers skills that allow us to be present and identify what we are feeling. Emotion regulation skills help us stay calm and collected, and help us identify when we need to decompress. Distress tolerance skills help us get through times when our emotions are really heightened, but we are in a place where we can’t address them (say, in an important meeting with your boss). And interpersonal effectiveness skills are tools that help us maintain and nurture our relationships.
At a DBT skills session, participants complete a weekly diary card that tracks the intensity of one’s moods, as well as which skills one uses throughout the week, and how helpful those skills are. Each session also covers skills to practice. Outside of the sessions, participants receive 15-minute coaching calls with an expert therapist (the therapist leading the sessions) to help review use of skills in challenging situations.
Why join a DBT group?
DBT is helpful for people experiencing anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and impulsive behaviors. It also is helpful for women experiencing perinatal mood disorders. It helps us identify skills that we can use in the moment to alleviate our symptoms and strong emotions. DBT also helps us effectively set boundaries with others, and create that self-care/wellness plan that we can never quite seem to put into place, despite our best intentions.
Taproot Therapy is running a DBT group starting October 13! We love running DBT groups, and are excited for our next group. This group will run virtually for 10 weeks, every Wednesday from 5:30pm-7pm, and will be led by our lead clinician and DBT expert, Erin Iwanusa, and co-facilitated by therapist, Bridget Carey. During this group, we will complete diary cards, learn skills in each of the four modules, and leave you with a plan to utilize these skills. For more information, click here!
For more DBT skills check out our DBT blog, or listen to our podcast, Taproot Therapy: A Mindful Moment (we even have a DBT challenge that's available on our podcast!).
Experiencing a miscarriage can be traumatic, scary, emotionally draining, and physically exhausting. It can also be a whirlwind experience. Often, we have to make quick decisions to move forward. Other times, the experience can last a few weeks. During this time, and post-miscarriage, there are several important things for us to consider.
Here are a few tips for surviving your miscarriage experience:
1. Ask every question!
Speak to your doctor to learn about the experience. Sometimes, we find out in our doctor’s office. Use the appointment time to ask every question you can. Do not be afraid to follow-up after your appointment if other questions surface. The first step in advocating for yourself is having answers to your questions.
When we first become pregnant, we are often excited and hopeful. It typically isn’t at the top of our list to educate ourselves on miscarriage after a positive pregnancy test. Thus, we often aren’t educating ourselves before a miscarriage happens. So, be ready to ask all of the questions you have.
2. Learn what your options are.
Once your miscarriage is confirmed, do you want to miscarry naturally, without medical intervention? Do you want medical intervention? Do you want a D&C? Also, are you able to do any genetic testing to confirm why there may have been a loss?
When I miscarried my third child, I was at an emergency room, where they took the fetus to confirm that it was, in fact, a fetus. I spoke to my doctor the following morning, and she recommended the hospital send the fetus for genetic testing to verify the cause of the loss. By the time I contacted the hospital, they were unable to do genetic testing because the pathology lab had disposed of the fetus. If I had known right at the emergency room, I might have had an answer as to why I miscarried. So, get all of your information upfront, and learn all of your options.
3. Follow up with your doctor to ensure you have completely miscarried.
Incomplete miscarriages can cause complications, including heavy and prolonged bleeding, pain, or an infection.
4. Take time off from work.
In March, 2021, New Zealand approved paid leave for individuals after miscarriage. This the first country in the world to have a policy in place for miscarriage, and applies to couples who lose a pregnancy at any point. Unfortunately, we in the United States do not have this as a national response to pregnancy loss, but some companies may have policies around time-off after a miscarriage. Even if your company doesn’t have official leave policies for pregnancy loss, use the vacation and sick time that you have to help yourself heal and recover (And, if they don’t have official leave policies, once you’re feeling better, this is a good area for advocating for reforming your company policies).
5. Find a therapist or support group.
There are therapists who specialize in pregnancy loss. A great resource for finding a therapist or support group is at the directory at Postpartum Support International.
6. Build your support system.
Talk to those people you love and trust. There are going to be some people who might not be able to provide you with the emotional support you need. And, while that may be challenging at first, it allows you to identify those people you really can lean on during this time.
In her book, Rising Strong, Brené Brown has an exercise to help us identify the people in our support system: draw a 1-inch by 1-inch box, and write the names of everyone you can trust completely. These people are supportive, caring, and completely honest with you. This box is small, but it’s meant to be small so you only have space for 2 or 3 people you can really count on.
7. Prioritize your wellness.
This can be especially hard when you are grieving. But prioritizing our wellness is essential. During this time, make sure you are resting, getting good sleep, drinking lots of water, eating balanced and healthy meals, and exercising (once your doctor gives you the go-ahead). I also include emotional wellness activities, such as meditation, prayer, talking with a friend, or engaging in hobbies we enjoy.
8. Treat yourself.
After our second miscarriage, my husband and I went out to a fancy restaurant that we had wanted to go to for quite some time. We treated ourselves to whatever we wanted on the menu. I look back at that night fondly. While we were sad and grieving, it was a chance for us to connect and find joy in our time together. This is a time to treat and pamper yourself. Eat a fancy meal, have a spa day, travel for a weekend get-away. Do whatever you need to do to treat yourself!