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"DBT has been life changing"

About: Sligo/Leitrim Mental Health Services / Leitrim Adult Community Mental Health Services

(as a service user),

I have recently finished 1 year of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) and although it’s hard to find the words to describe how grateful I am for this experience, I will give it a go. It’s a very big commitment but the work you put in is so worth it.

It has had such a positive impact it on my life, as I feel better able to deal with the ups and downs that come my way.

I use the skills most days and they are very practical. Probably one of the most beneficial things I took from it is that I now understand that emotions are there for a reason and it’s ok to have them. I really liked the structure of the therapy - I got so much out of the weekly 1:1 session with my therapist, and the group session was good because I got to relate to other people’s experiences when they shared.

Something in particular that I enjoyed about DBT is the way it’s about learning knowledge and skills. The focus, I felt, was more on learning how to cope with overwhelming emotions (using skills) rather than going deeply into analysing the root of these emotions. Rather than just analysing a problem DBT helped me focus on problem solving and how to cope. I really liked how practical it is.

At the beginning of DBT I wasn’t in a great place and I felt very stuck. My confidence wasn’t great and I can see now that I was holding myself back a lot. Doing DBT helped me so much that I finally felt ready and able to change the things in my life that I was unhappy about. I am now in a much better place and I recently started a new job which is something I really care about. I feel like I’m moving in the direction I wanted to go in.

I think mindfulness helped a lot with this - I started to become more aware of the my thoughts and how I spoke to myself in my head. When I realized that I was being really horrible to myself (in my head) I was then able to start working on ways to stop focusing on those thoughts and start practicing loving kindness instead. Another way of putting this is that instead of following whatever train of thought in my head I am now able to recognize this and if it’s not something that I want to think about then I can bring my focus back to the present moment. This is not something I thought was possible to change but it has.

The power is in my hands now, I can decide what I focus my attention on now. Realizing that A) I don’t have to pay attention to unhelpful thoughts and, that B) the thoughts in my head are not facts, have profoundly improved my self worth. I was definitely my own worst enemy, and although I still have negative thoughts about myself at times they don’t have the same power over me, and if I do find myself going down I notice it and use a skill.

Honestly I cannot thank my DBT therapist Aine or the whole DBT team enough. I want to thank them, from the bottom of my heart, for all the work they have done for me. I feel very lucky to had this truly life changing experience.

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Response from Therese Tierney, Senior Social Worker, Mental Health of Intellectual Disabilities, Sligo Leitrim Mental Health Service 2 years ago
Therese Tierney
Senior Social Worker, Mental Health of Intellectual Disabilities,
Sligo Leitrim Mental Health Service
Submitted on 25/04/2022 at 10:57
Published on Care Opinion at 10:57

Dear Dbt2021

Thank you so much for taking the time to give the team feedback on your experience of completing the DBT programme We are very happy to hear that you feel that all the hard work you put into the programme paid off in the end. We know it is a big commitment and a tough challenge, and hope that you are very proud of all that you accomplished. You give a lovely description of why DBT skills are so practical in finding solutions to every day problems, and how mindfulness in particular is helpful in counteracting negative self talk. It is great to see just how much you have learned and we hope the skills will bring you ever closer to your ' life worth living'. We will pass on your comments to Aine who I am sure will be very pleased to hear them. Wishing you the very best for the future and in your new job. Take good care,

Therese Tierney ( on behalf of the DBT team, SLMHS)

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