ResiliencyModule 4: How to Find the Right Therapist

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If you find that your primary symptoms of PTSD are struggling with emotional overwhelm what we sometimes call dysregulation, or interpersonal problems with a spouse or parenting your children or co workers at work, this is a time to think about the use of dialectical behavioral therapy. Another wonderful approach to healing trauma. DBT uses a principle of mindfulness as its foundation, and comes out of a background of Zen Buddhism. The word dialectic in the dialectical behavioral therapy refers to a core polarity in all of us as humans, that when we fully accept ourselves, we are more likely to change. But if we're pushing ourselves towards change too fast, too quickly, we're going to hold on to our defenses. I'll share a story here that represents this About the wind and the sun having a conversation.

They look down at the world below and they see a man walking through the park wearing his jacket and his scarf. The wind says boastfully to the sun, I sure that I can get this man to take off his jacket and his scarf. I challenge you to bet the sun accepts so the wind goes first, blowing and blowing, he tries to get the man to take off his scarf in his coat. And of course, the man only holds on tighter. When the sun comes out and shines, the man feels warmer, feels more relaxed and eventually warm enough to take off his coat and a scarf and move on. As you can see, when we try and push ourselves towards change, we're going to resist and when we come with the warmth of self compassion and self acceptance, we're more likely to lay those defenses aside.

Some of the core principles that you would learn within a DBT session are how to work with your emotions. How do you know when you're becoming overwhelmed emotionally? And how do you engage in self care practices here and now to attend to those feelings. Also, if you find yourself struggling with conflict and constant fighting with others, you can learn some of the skills of interpersonal communication that can allow you to be more effective. The third skill is to learn what we call distress tolerance. Often when we've experienced trauma, our ability to tolerate stress in the world can get very truncated for good reason.

You have already handled enough you feel like you can't handle anymore. And what we want to do is slowly begin to build your trust that you can handle more sensation or emotion, more interpersonal experiences out in the world, and we need to do that at a pace that is right for you. I often recommend that when you're healing from PTSD that is It's valuable to integrate a mind body therapy approach. This can involve developing a mindfulness practice for yourself on a daily basis or finding some way to integrate exercise, massage acupuncture can be helpful as well. Finding a self care team that allows you to know that you don't have to go at this alone, that there are ways to heal that integrate this positive approach to healing. So how do you find the right therapist for you?

The first thing to look for is to find someone with whom you feel safe. All of the research on psychotherapy comes down to one common factor that makes it work, the therapeutic relationship. You need to know that the person that you're working with has your back will protect you will stand up for you will believe you. And that's what's going to cultivate that sense of safety. The qualities in a therapist that I would recommend looking for is someone with Whom you feel understood, someone who has a good capacity to listen to be compassionate. Finally, a quality and a therapist I recommend looking for is someone with whom you can partner with for the sake of your health.

If you find a therapist who is sitting opposite from you, as the expert, and you feel insecure and unsure about yourself, that might not be the right fit. Whereas if you are sitting with someone who trust that you are the expert on your life, you know yourself best and is willing to be open and hear your story. That's the feeling that you want to go for. It is common to interview multiple therapists before you find the right one. It's important to take that time

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