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mindfulness

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a treatment that was originally created by Marsha Linehan and her team to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Folks with BPD have what’s called pervasive emotion dysregulation—in other words, they struggle to identify what they’re feeling, don’t have the skills to effectively manage the emotions that arise, and end up turning to problem behaviors (such as suicide attempts, self-harming behaviors, or substance use), in an attempt to cope.

When you practice mindfulness as a way of life, over time you start to notice that your understanding of what it means will naturally deepen. You may find an increased capacity to respond more flexibly to the present moment both in your personal life and your clinical work. But even when you have intimately experienced and felt the depth of the practice, you may somehow still struggle to describe it or put it into words when necessary for client work.

Editor’s note: The following is an interview with John Forsyth, PhD, one of the authors of the bestselling Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which has recently published in its second edition.

To be a good mindfulness teacher, or even to use mindfulness effectively with your clients, it’s important that you have your own personal practice.

Luckily, the practice of psychotherapy has a number of built-in qualities that present clinicians with ample opportunities to do mindfulness in sessions.

When asked to describe their experience, people who suffer from anxiety more commonly cite a cluster of physical symptoms than emotional or mental sensations. Things like shortness of breath, muscle tension, hyperventilation, and palpitations are just a few examples of what people with anxiety may experience during a flare-up.

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