Hi. My name is Jordan Harmon with New Roads Behavioral Health.
I’m going to give you a brief overview of core mindfulness, which is one of the main skill areas that we teach in DBT treatment. Core mindfulness includes ‘what’ skills and ‘how’ skills.
Before we get into those, I’ll just give you a brief definition of mindfulness, and let you know why it’s the core of DBT.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be described or defined as, paying attention in a particular way in the moment and without judgment.
Mindfulness is kind of like … In some ways, it’s like an antidote to what a lot of us experience, when we get really caught up in our thoughts, when we get really caught up in things mentally, emotionally or behaviorally that are meant to avoid what we’re experiencing.
Mindfulness is about kind of coming back to the present, experiencing whatever is there, and becoming more flexible and more able to experience any range of things that might be going on for us.
Three ‘What’ Skills of Mindfulness
The what skills, we do them one at a time, rather than all together. There’s three different ones. It’s what we do when we’re being mindful.
The first is Observe. The observe skill means just noticing you’re experiencing.
Just noticing your experience and doing that without judgment. That could be your experience of your thoughts, could be your experience of your emotions, might be your five senses.
Whatever it is, you’re noticing them and you’re doing that in a way, in which you’re getting little space from them, noticing them without judgment, without reaction, without necessarily needing to do or change anything.
The describe skill is when you, rather than doing the noticing, you’re describing what you’ve noticed.
You’re putting words to it. It might be after having noticed a thought, you might describe it and say, “I notice the thought that I’m hungry. Notice the thought that I am anxious; I notice the thought that when I feel anxious my heart rate speeds up and my chest feels tight.”
Describing in a specific way.
You might do that by talking out loud to another person. You might do that to yourself. Maybe by writing it down in a journal.
The idea is that when you describe and put words to your experience, it’s a way for you to pay attention to that and process it in a different way.
Participate is another what skill.
That’s when you throw yourself into something 100%. It’s more active in terms of being a part of whatever’s going on.
That can be a game that you’re playing, it could be work, it could be spending time with a friend or a family member. It’s really putting away the distractions, putting away your phone, putting away other things, and focusing and participating 100% in whatever you’re doing at that time.
Those are the Three What skills.
Now, these three How skills, are ones that we do all together. It’s the how we do mindfulness.
The Three ‘How’ Mindfulness Skills
Whereas the What skills, you might do one at a time, the how skills, we wanna try to have those qualities present all the time, when we’re doing mindfulness.
The first one is non-judgmental stance.
This is very hard to do. It’s something that we can learn how to do and develop more and more.
People … I don’t think anyone’s really perfect at non-judgmental stance, just because how we’re wired as humans is to interpret and judge things.
We can never totally get away from that. We can learn to step back from things and not label things as good or bad, or should and shouldn’t, and rather notice them …
We could observe or describe, or participate in a non-judgmental way, in a way that’s open to things as they are, without interpreting them really quickly, really, before we have facts.
2. One Mindful
One mindful is another how skill. That’s … It’s kind of like the opposite of multitasking. It’s kind of like, goes in line with the participate skill.
The idea is that you are, instead of trying to multitask with your brain, in terms of thinking about a lot of things and doing a lot of things at once, you’re focusing on one thing at a time, and you’re noticing or you’re describing or you’re participating one thing at a time, one mindfully.
The third one, effectively.
That’s basically doing what works. Some people … Everyone’s gotta find their own way to do mindfulness and how to be effective with mindfulness. Mindfulness doesn’t necessarily equate with relaxation.
Some people use mindfulness to relax, or to decrease their stress or anxiety or to feel more calm. It can have that effect.
Sometimes, when people, especially people who have struggled with other kinds of disorders or struggles, start doing mindfulness, they might actually experience an increase of anxiety or stress.
That’s because they’re sitting with their experience instead of distracting from it. What their experience is, is maybe negative thoughts, or destructive urges or things like that.
Being effective, doesn’t mean that you’re feeling calm, you’re feeling relaxed, it means that you’re doing what works for you to pay attention in the moment and to be present for whatever is there for you.
This is the core of DBT.
All other skills are really supplemental to these skills and are based on, again, helping us find and helping out clients find their life worth living.
Thanks for watching.