The Recipe for Change in Your Life with DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)

Yesterday during the DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) group that I attend, one of our newer members asked a veteran member how she was able to shift her mental state from feeling and rejected and angry when her significant other would not walk the dog with her, to appreciating her surroundings and experience with her dog.  The new member shared what many of us experience early on in our treatment: confusion around how to shift and not stay stuck in the negativity that we want to escape.

The short answer is to practice the skills, but I love the analogy that our veteran member gave. She described it as the process you would follow if you want to bake a cake. 

In this example, baking a cake = successfully using the DBT skills.

She said that if you had the recipe for the cake (the DBT Skills), and you just kept saying, "Where the hell is the cake?" you'd realize that you have the recipe in your hands. You need to actually PRACTICE by putting the recipe together and following the steps consistently.

The same is true for watching DBT change our lives. We must actually use the skills. We can try them in small matters to build confidence, or we can take a giant leap and apply them to larger issues. Either way, we will see which skills are effective for us.

How do you determine if they are effective?  Essentially, you see the changes you wish to see in your life. Maybe you're able to hold back from self-destructive and impulsive behaviors more than in the past. Maybe you're better able to tolerate transient, uncomfortable moods and emotions. Keep trying the skills until you find the ones that work for you in your given situation.

The proof will be in the pudding...errr... cake.

It does take time to shift ways of thinking and behaviors that we've been stuck in for years, but it is very possible. It's happening all around you, and if you haven't already noticed it happening in your life, know that with practice, you will.

What is an example of how DBT has started to change your life?

Thanks for reading.
More Soon.

If you've been looking for a structured way to practice DBT skills, get started with my book, "Stop Sabotaging: A 31-Day DBT Challenge to Change Your Life."


  1. Thanks for all of your posts Debbie I feel so much better that there's a place for us to be ourselves and not be judged like this community you have created! Thank you so much for getting me through some days by sharing your experience, strength and hope to us borderline ladies. I really appreciate it dearly and have accepted my illness more since I found your blog so thanks again!! :) ♥

    This post reminded me of a DBT class I had 3 or 4 months ago and the homework was to use the "Soothing with the Senses" skill but I noticed I had used many skills just in the one activity which was, baking a cake!!!

    *note the following may be a trigger for some of us who have eating disorders so read with caution*

    I actually baked a cake from scratch for the first time using the DBT skills as it helped me use the following

    1. Soothe with the senses - smell, taste, touch, visual

    2. Opposition to emotion action (wanted to just lie around, pout and sleep.

    3. Building Mastery (I don't bake very often especially a new recipe from scratch and really hate trying new things)

    4. Wise mind - doing what works, staying focused on the recipe, observing my cake.

    5. Practising Willingness - I didn't want to make the cake but I was willing to try

    6. Radical Acceptance - I've accepted that I am extremely upset and emotional which won't change right at this minute so I might as well try and get my mind off of it.

    This can be trigger for binge eaters( like myself) so be sure you can eat mindfully once the cake is complete! Or maybe baking a cake is not for everyone but it really helped me use my coping skills. Now I'm hungry for cake hehe. Thanks Debbie for the great post - helped me remember some good DBT skills that I have with me always but forget sometimes how simple they are to use in my everyday life.


    diagnosed Borderline: 2009

    finished DBT: December 2012

    1. oh also I am 31 years old. I thought I should add that in...age sometimes can help choose what skills would work best in related situations.

      Enjoy your day/night fellow readers and Debbie!


    2. Thank you for your comment, VikkiBee :)

    3. VikkiBee, I saw your longer post after I had responded to the shorter one. Thank you SO much for bringing this post to life further with this example. Awesome! And, welcome tot he community, where you are received with open arms. :) ♥

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. oh I see!! LOL that makes sense - you must have been thinking okaaaaaaay thanks 31 yr for your age info haha- I just forgot to add is to the long one :) ♥

  2. I really love this analogy. It makes it all sound so simple, in a non-patronizing or dismissive way. It really does make perfect sense though. I think I'm definitely mixing my batter. :)

    1. LOL. So glad this spoke to you, Aeshe. Thanks for the comment. :)



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...