January 31, 2020
There’s this thing called DBT, it means Dialectical Behavior Therapy. You have been told that it is really great for both mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, and substance use. When you get treatment for your mental health, hopefully the facility you choose will use DBT, it is one of the best treatments for mood disorders and addiction, or both. But why do your parents need DBT skills?
Your DBT Experience
As you enter treatment with DBT, you will be learning new things about yourself, how to cope with things in your life, and how to communicate. Many of the things you learn will be replacing the way that you thought and functioned before. As you grow and change, you will feel the difference in the way you think, react, and communicate.
Your therapy experience will give you lifelong skills of mindfulness, or accepting things as they are; stress management; communication, and learning to regulate your emotions. As you work to learn all of these new skills and implement them in your life, you will feel the transformation. Additionally, your new skills will likely impact your family relationships.
The Need for Family Training
This is where your parents and family come in. Now that you have all of these advanced skills and superpowers to cope with your life, you don’t want to leave them in the dust. If you try to talk about all of the new terminology you are learning… well it wouldn’t be the first time they would have no idea what you are talking about.
However, your transformation includes improving your personal relationships, particularly with family. So in order for your transformation to be complete, you need them to learn some new skills, too. This will also help when you try to play DBT Pictionary (that’s not really a thing… unless you want it to be.)
What Your Parents Will Learn
Your parents and family will learn first and foremost about your mood disorder and/or substance abuse. Not in a Wikipedia way, but from a place of empathy: non-judgment and understanding. They should learn to accept you and also learn more about your behaviors and the physiological side of your mental health.
They can also learn about family dynamics, and how to create a healthy balance for everyone in the family. For example, they can learn how to support you with your mental health issues without sacrificing their own sanity. Sure, it is an ideal, but it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks, right? Or at least that’s what they say.
They will also learn new communication skills. It would be strange if you came home, trying out your fantastic new communication skills, and they had no idea what was going on. Or couldn’t understand or process healthy communication, particularly if that has never been a strength in your family. Having your parents learn the same skills as you will be immense in your healing.
The Importance of Communication
One of the best skills that you will learn about communicating is how to advocate for yourself, how to tell people what you need to be healthy. This only works if the people you are trying to communicate to, most likely your parents and family, understand what you are saying. Sometimes communication in families is more like a United Nations meeting: everyone is speaking different languages. Only in families, there are no interpreters for the different types of communication. Perhaps you think you have communicated your needs before. But if your needs were not met, then you probably did not effectively communicate.
Communication is based on two main elements: The person speaking and the person or people listening. For communication to happen, both parties need to understand one another. You can speak the same language and dialect, but there are other parts to communicating, too. There is hearing, understanding, body language. And there is the baggage that most of us carry which clouds our understanding when others speak. Having your parents trained in the same skills as you should help to level the playing field and improve communication in your family.
How You Will Benefit
When your parents gain DBT skills, you can benefit in many ways. First of all is empathy, as they should come out of their training with a much better understanding of you and your struggles. Their training in family dynamics should help unify your family and perhaps even ease previous tensions or misunderstandings. Most importantly, having more effective communication as an entire family will help you heal and will heal relationships that may have been strained before. Not only will you have a whole new you, you can also have a whole new family.
Whether you think your parents are embarrassing, overbearing, uncaring, outdated, heartless, or the very definition of dysfunctional, having your parents gain DBT skills can change your life. Honestly, you are more likely to really own those skills, but at least they will have exposure and have some idea of how to support you in your new life of mental health.
When you get treatment with DBT, you change your life. When your parents learn DBT skills, it changes your family’s lives. Go all in with your treatment, and have your family invest in you with their time and education. You may not ever be the perfect family, but at least your family can be supportive of you being the perfect you.
You can improve your whole family by calling Potomac Programs 1-855-809-0409 today. Let the healing begin.