Building a Life Worth Living Web Series
Based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Join YES counselors Cailyn and Delaney in creating a toolbox full of skills to use in everyday life in this pre-recorded 16-week web series.
Start by building a foundation with Mindfulness, then establish your shelter to weather the storms with Distress Tolerance, then discuss Emotional Regulation to feel more at home in your head, and end the series looking outside ourselves with Interpersonal Effectiveness to link to our communities.
This web series is rooted in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and involves activities, worksheets, and helpful tips. Each webisode includes 30-40 minutes of content.
This program is made possible through YES’ partnership with the Lake Washington School District.
BUILDING YOUR FOUNDATION
This part of the series will focus on Mindfulness. We will be learning about being in control of our minds, by practicing awareness and attention. We do this through fine-tuning our observing, describing, and participating skills.
There is always more than one way to see a situation. We start off our series by exploring the idea of “both-and.” Even during a global pandemic, when things are tough, we can find moments of joy. Let’s try to stop using words like “always” and “never.” We’ll give you some ideas on how to understand dialectics.
In this session, we explore different states of mind: reasonable mind, emotional mind, and wise mind. Everyone has inner wisdom, and we can move towards living mindfully instead of mindlessly.
So, what do you do when you are practicing mindfulness? Great question! We will go through the three primary skills: observing, describing, and participating, and provide examples of things you can do in the moment.
In the webisode before, we covered “what” you do when practicing mindfulness. This week we cover “how” you do it by taking a non-judgmental stance, focusing on one thing in the moment and how to be effective (doing what works).
ESTABLISHING YOUR SHELTER
The next part of our series, we will be talking about Distress Tolerance. Everyone will experience pain in their lives, that’s part of being human. That pain might be many things, and how we walk through that pain makes all the difference. Learn how to build a shelter for yourself when the storms come so you can learn how to get through short-term and long-term distressing situations.
ACCEPTS & TIPP
There are multiple skills to use when you experience a crisis. We start by covering when and how to best distract yourself during a situation and when it’s most effective. We will also cover how we can reduce intense emotions by regulating our nervous systems through temperature, exercise, and breathing.
Self-Sooth & IMPROVE
In this session, we will cover how we can use the five senses to do something comforting and kind for ourselves as well as improving the moment we are currently in.
Handout for Self-Sooth and IMPROVE
Slides for Self-Sooth & IMPROVE
Pros & Cons
When we are in a situation, we have choices we can make regarding how we respond. Learn about the benefit of stopping and thinking through the pros and cons of a situation to help you make an informed decision on how you want to react.
Finally, in this series, we will discuss the idea of radical acceptance. We can’t change the past because it’s already happened, and we can’t solve the problems of the future because we aren’t there yet. Radical acceptance focuses on the here and now and accepting it to alleviate suffering.
Handout for Radical Acceptance
FINISHING YOUR HOME
We are all vulnerable to something and we all have choices in how we react. In this section of the series, we will be focusing on Emotion Regulation and learning how we can label, identify and regulate our emotions. We will also be myth-busting a few things about emotions that may surprise you!
How Emotions Function & How to Describe Them
We must understand how emotions work and how to describe them before being skillful with them. Emotions aren’t good or bad; they just are. We can’t just get rid of them, so learn with us how to accept emotions and understand their functions.
Handout for How Emotions Function
Check the Facts & Opposite Reaction
A lot of our emotions are impacted actually by our thoughts and interpretations of events, not by the actual events themselves. In this session, we practice “Checking the Facts” about the situation and practice changing our behaviors as a way to change our emotions through “Opposite Action.”
Remember that emotions aren’t good or bad, and we might want to experience some of the emotions more often. We have a few skills that can help us increase the emotions we would like to have in both the short term and long term. We can do this daily by taking care of our bodies and minds in specific tangible ways.
Riding the Emotion Wave
In this final session in Emotion Regulation, we will be talking about “riding the emotion wave”, which is a skill that focuses on experiencing our emotions and sitting with them instead of pushing them away.
Handout for Riding the Emotion Wave
Slides for Riding the Emotion Wave
LINKING WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
We will end our series by exploring skills related to Interpersonal Effectiveness. So far, we’ve focused on skills you can use for yourself, the other people in our lives are also important sources of support. In this section, we will review skills that we can use to maintain and nurture our relationships with the important people in our lives.
This lesson will focus on our relationships with others – and specifically what we can do to nurture and maintain those relationships. We obviously know why we like our friends and want to keep them in our lives –and how often do we consider what they enjoy about being around us? GIVE skills focus on learning how to validate and support others while maintaining our own healthy boundaries too!
So, we’ve learned how to take care of others in our relationships – and now we want to turn the mirror inwards and make sure that we are not compromising our self-respect to take care of others. FAST skills begin our work into developing self-advocacy skills, which are helpful when navigating conflicts or difficulties in relationships.
Self-advocacy skills are essential for helping us communicate our goals – especially when we need help from others to meet our needs. DEAR MAN is a skill that looks at what is effective when asking for things we need and guides how we frame these requests. While it cannot guarantee folks will respond the way we want, this skill will increase the likelihood of success.
Evaluating Options for Saying No
“No” has a bad reputation in our society – when we say no, we may feel we are seen as resistant, uncooperative, or unhelpful. However! There are many occasions where saying “No” is a much better choice than saying yes – like when we are already taking on too much or just don’t feel comfortable with a request made of us. This session will help with learning how to evaluate when it is better to say no, and help give you the skills to choose this option.
Handout for Evaluating Options
Cailyn Griffith LMHCA, SUDPT is a mental health and substance use counselor working as a Behavioral Health Support Specialist with Youth Eastside Services. In her current role, Cailyn provides education, prevention, and individual services to Middle Schoolers in the Lake Washington School District. Cailyn particularly enjoys working with young people on building their self-understanding and self-compassion and empowering them with the tools and skills they need to feel more in control of their mental health. She is trained in several evidence-based practices which she uses in her work with students, including the foundational training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).
Delaney Knottnerus LSWAIC, SUDP is a social worker, substance use, and co-occurring disorders counselor. She has worked in the Lake Washington School District middle schools on the SBIRT- Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Services -implementation. Delaney believes in a holistic and collaborative approach to counseling and loves using stories, pop culture, and media as tools in therapy. She has completed the foundational training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and has advanced skills in Motivational Interviewing.