Therapists In The Wild
By Molly and Liza
"Therapists, they're just like us!" Two friends and Clinical Psychologists, Molly and Liza, discuss how they use Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills to navigate relationships with themselves and others. In each episode, you will learn about DBT skills that will help you increase mindfulness, better regulate emotions, tolerate distress, and enhance communication in relationships.
If you'd like to support our work, you can donate any amount you feel comfortable via Venmo @MollyStDenis. Thank you for your contribution!
Insta/FB @TherapistsInTheWild and Twitter @TherapistsWild.
If you'd like to support our work, you can donate any amount you feel comfortable via Venmo @MollyStDenis. Thank you for your contribution!
Insta/FB @TherapistsInTheWild and Twitter @TherapistsWild.
33. Vulnerability in the New Year
Happy New Year, TITW listeners! As we head into the new year, we're reflecting on the values we want to prioritize and how we can commit to moving toward those values. Since deepening relationships and creating new ones has been on our minds lately, we decided to do an episode on vulnerability. Vulnerability can be defined as "the practice of taking emotional risks even when the outcome is uncertain." We start out by discussing certain forms of anxiety that interfere with opening up even to trusted people in our lives. We then explore what we miss out on when we act on this anxiety (i.e. missing opportunities for closer relationships, as well as feedback, support, and validation). We end by suggesting a few DBT and other skills to use in the moment when anxiety is holding you back from being vulnerable with someone you trust. In the spirit of vulnerability, we share some news about the future of the podcast. If you would like to send feedback/suggestions about what you'd like to see from us in the future, please email us at email@example.com. If you'd like to support TITW, we would be very grateful for donations of any amount you feel comfortable via Venmo @MollyStDenis. If a donation is not possible at this time, you can still support our work by leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. Thank you! *Check out our website at therapistsinthewild.com. And follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild.
January 01, 2022
32. Practicing Self-Compassion
This month on TITW, we're practicing self-compassion. Liza and Molly have been studying the work of Dr. Kristin Neff, a psychologist and researcher who breaks down the practice of self-compassion into concrete steps. We've noticed a lot of overlap between Dr. Neff's work and DBT skills, and we discuss the similarities in this episode. We start by defining self-compassion and how it's all about being a friend to yourself. We then get into the barriers of practicing self-compassion (i.e. the erroneous belief that beating ourselves up is the only path toward self-improvement), and point out how taking a more dialectical approach while being kind to ourselves actually leads to more effective problem-solving and learning from mistakes. Molly and Liza each share personal examples of times they have both practiced self-compassion, and, more often, times they have beat themselves up to the point of blocking effective action. We discuss the benefits of practicing self-compassion, and provide a step-by-step approach to the practice, using DBT skills including Mindfulness of Current Emotion, Radical Acceptance, Nonjudgmental and Dialectical Thinking, and good old Opposite Action. We hope you enjoy! If you'd like to support TITW, we would be very grateful for donations of any amount you feel comfortable via Venmo @MollyStDenis. If a donation is not possible at this time, you can still support our work by leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. Thank you! *Check out our website at therapistsinthewild.com. And follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild.
December 01, 2021
31. Gaining Distance from Thoughts with Cognitive Defusion
This month on TITW, Molly teaches Liza and our listeners concepts from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), another "third wave" cognitive behavioral treatment that both overlaps with and differs from DBT. Molly has been practicing ACT at her therapy practice, and Liza... needs to brush up on her skills! First, Molly walks us through the six core processes of ACT, including "Cognitive Defusion," which is the process of watching thoughts come and go rather than getting caught up or buying into them. In some ways, this episode is a deep dive on the "Mindfulness of Current Thoughts" skill from the DBT Distress Tolerance module. We discuss how most humans experience unwanted automatic thoughts, and how we those of us with "stickier" brains can benefit from relating differently to such thoughts. We teach several defusion strategies, and also discuss how to use the DBT skill of "Check the Facts" to increase willingness to use these techniques. We wrap up with a coaching session! Here are some books to help you learn more about ACT: 1) Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life 2) The Happiness Trap 3) ACT Made Simple: An Easy-to-Read Primer on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy If you'd like to support TITW, we would be very grateful for donations of any amount you feel comfortable via Venmo @MollyStDenis. If a donation is not possible at this time, you can still support our work by leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. Thank you! *Check out our website at therapistsinthewild.com. And follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild.
November 01, 2021
30. Overcoming Procrastination and Hyper-Productivity
This month on TITW, Liza and Molly share their personal experiences with procrastination (Molly) and, on the other side of the dialectic, hyper-productivity (Liza). We believe that procrastination and hyper-productivity are opposite responses that function to avoid similar feelings of anxiety. We define procrastination as knowing a task needs to get done and choosing to do something else instead. Hyper-productivity is a term we invented based off of Liza's experience of feeling the urge to constantly be productive and complete tasks immediately. Through an impromptu chain analysis Liza conducts on Molly's procrastination behavior, we learn about what drives this behavior and how to change it. We work together to identify factors that increase vulnerability to procrastination; thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that lead up to the procrastination behavior; as well as the short- and long-term consequences associated with procrastination. Make sure to listen to our skills review at the end of the episode, where we give ourselves homework and offer concrete suggestions for how to overcome urges to procrastinate or engage in hyper-productive behavior. We hope you enjoy!
October 01, 2021
29. Buddhism and DBT ft. Keerthi Reddy
This month on TITW, we are taking a break from discussions about skills to have an exploratory conversation about Buddhist philosophy, which inspired the practice of DBT. We speak with a special guest, Keerthi Reddy, a masters student at the Harvard Divinity School, who is focusing her studies on Zen Buddhism. First, Liza and Keerthi (old friends from college!) discuss the concept of suffering according to Buddhism, and how accepting reality as it is, and not the way we have been conditioned to interpret it, can reduce suffering. Liza and Keerthi talk about Buddhism as an ethical practice, and explore some critiques of "packaging" Buddhist principles and incorporating them into mental health treatments and in other settings. Through a personal example, Keerthi gives advice on how to separate our experience of reality from reality itself, in order to increase freedom and focus. In the second half of the episode (starting at 41:00), Molly and Keerthi discuss trauma and spirituality, and specific Buddhist principles that may help with healing from suffering. Keerthi provides more practical advice on how to practice meditation and mindfulness while experiencing trauma-related symptoms. Finally, we discuss how religion and spirituality can help people make meaning from trauma. We hope you enjoy! If you'd like to support TITW, we would be very grateful for donations of any amount you feel comfortable via Venmo @MollyStDenis. If a donation is not possible at this time, you can still support our work by leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. Thank you! *Check out our website at therapistsinthewild.com. And follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild.
September 01, 2021
28. Responding Skillfully to Feedback
In this month's episode of TITW, we address a therapy hot topic (and one that Liza and Molly discuss regularly with each other off-air): how to accept feedback in both personal and professional settings, especially when (you perceive) it is negative. We explain why feedback can feel so hurtful to receive, and, on the other side of the dialectic, why it is so often necessary for growth. We share examples from our own lives, particularly throughout our therapist training, of times when even the most upsetting comments have helped us evolve and move toward our values. Understandably, when Emotion Mind shows up, it can be easy to miss the "kernel of truth" in others' input on your behavior. Therefore, we discuss how to use DBT skills in the moment to stay mindful and effective rather than respond impulsively. We give tips on how to manage repetitive negative thoughts related to what was said, and how you might eventually respond once you are in Wise Mind. Finally, we address how to incorporate Self-Respect ("FAST") skills when responding to feedback, particularly if you disagree with the content or how it was delivered. We hope you enjoy and find this episode helpful! ...And speaking of feedback, we welcome your feedback and would love to hear from you! Please email us at TherapistsInTheWild@gmail.com and let us know how you've been enjoying Season 2 so far. If you'd like to support TITW, we would be very grateful for donations of any amount you feel comfortable via Venmo @MollyStDenis. If a donation is not possible at this time, you can still support our work by leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. Thank you! *Check out our website at therapistsinthewild.com. And follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild.
August 01, 2021
27. Living with Borderline Personality Disorder ft. Mental Health Advocate Chris Jones
This month, Liza and Molly are thrilled to share one of our favorite episodes yet: our conversation with Chris Jones, a mental health advocate who was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) approximately two years ago. Chris has completed Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and discusses in a radically genuine way both the ups and downs of going through treatment, and how using DBT skills has become second-nature (after a lot of hard work). In the episode, we cover the dialectical nature of the BPD - or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder - diagnosis, and how getting an accurate diagnosis can be life-changing. Chris also tells us what it is like for him to live with BPD, and how he works to reduce stigma and help others create a life-worth-living through his social media advocacy work. As relative newcomers to the social media mental health space, we ask Chris about its pros and cons. Finally, we discuss our go-to DBT skills in various situations. We can't wait to share this episode with you. We hope you will feel validated, learn as much as we did, and enjoy! You can follow Chris Jones on Instagram @cjontheborderline. Check out our website at therapistsinthewild.com! And follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild, and email us with questions/feedback at TherapistsInTheWild@gmail.com.
June 14, 2021
26. When Not To Use Opposite Action
The TITW are officially back for *Season 2* of the podcast! We start off with a few exciting updates, since we can't wait to share what we've been working on during the season break. We discuss plans for the future of the podcast as well as the launch of our new website (!): therapistsinthewild.com. Please check us out to learn more about the consulting/coaching services we are now offering for therapists and professionals in related fields, or to learn more about us and browse additional DBT resources. Then we get into the topic for today’s episode: when are unwanted emotions - like anger and hurt - effective to act on, rather than act opposite to? We start this discussion off with examples of dogs and babies who seem to have no trouble expressing unwanted emotions, indicating that there may be an evolutionary function of expressing the emotions we feel. We discuss the benefits of effectively expressing how you feel in the moment, including increasing self-respect and improving relationships. We know firsthand how difficult it can be to know when and how to effectively express feelings like anger, sadness, grief, and shame, so we discuss the function of each emotion and provide examples to guide you through using this technique. The episode ends with a few key points to help you determine whether to use the tips discussed in this episode vs. the skill of opposite action. Check out our website at therapistsinthewild.com! And follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild, and email us with questions/feedback at TherapistsInTheWild@gmail.com.
May 17, 2021
Bonus: DBT and Valentine's Day
Welcome to our first bonus episode and our teaser for Season 2! In this episode, the TITW answer questions from listeners about how to cope effectively on Valentine's Day (or any holiday/event for which you might have high expectations, even if you wish you didn't). We start by sharing our own anecdotes from Valentine's Days past, where things may have gone better for us had we known about DBT. We each share stories about unmet expectations and discuss which DBT skills we could have used; Liza describes how using mindfulness skills would have helped increase flexibility, and Molly shares how communicating expectations, rather than assuming someone is a mind-reader, would have led to a more effective outcome. We then respond to listener questions related to experiencing loneliness in Wise Mind, resisting urges to reach out to a past romantic partner, and using Opposite Action to love in order to get over a relationship. We answer the questions by encouraging you to make Cope Ahead plans in advance of Valentine's Day, with a mix of acceptance (mindfulness, self-validation, urge surfing) and change skills (opposite action, problem-solving, and asking for what you need). We hope you enjoy, stay skillful on Valentine's Day, and continue to stay tuned and send us questions for Season 2! *Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild, and email us with questions/feedback at TherapistsInTheWild@gmail.com.
February 10, 2021
25. How To: Stay Skillful
In this final episode of TITW Season 1, Liza and Molly focus on putting it all together in order to help you stay skillful. Applying DBT skills in daily life is like learning a new language, and we know firsthand how challenging it can be to remember which skills to use when. To that end, we start by summarizing the skills we've covered this season, in the Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, Interpersonal Effectiveness, and Distress Tolerance modules. Next, we present scenarios related to suffering from future and past-oriented thoughts, and anxiety in relationships, and brainstorm which skills we might apply in the moment (also known as making a "Cope Ahead" plan). Finally, we end by listing a few concrete ways to remember all the skills we've gone over so far. We want to thank you for your support and engagement this season, and for bringing this podcast to life for us! We will be busy during the season break brainstorming topics for Season 2, and we would love your input! Please stay subscribed to TITW so you don't miss the start of our next season. *Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild, and email us with questions/feedback at TherapistsInTheWild@gmail.com.
December 14, 2020
24. How To: Practice Radical Acceptance with "Willing Hands" and "Half Smile"
It is our last week of teaching new skills (!), and our second to last episode of Season 1! This week, we wrap up the Reality Acceptance part of the Distress Tolerance Module by walking you through how to practice Radical Acceptance, step-by-step. We start the episode by sharing what acceptance looks like practically, according to DBT, and discuss how fully accepting the moment involves using both your body and your mind. Through listing a few scenarios that might be difficult to accept (i.e. a breakup or a tough relationship with a boss), we review all the steps and discuss how we like to practice each one. Throughout the practice of Radical Acceptance, it is crucial to be open to the experience and the emotions/thoughts that may arise (the DBT skill of "Willingness"). It is equally important to notice and "Turn the Mind" back to Willingness when "willfulness" shows up. Finally, we provide concrete ways to practice Willingness, particularly if you are feeling willful: "Half-Smile" and "Willing Hands." In addition to explaining why each of these contributes to a willingness to accept reality, Molly walks you through a guided practice in order to learn and apply the skill in real time. We hope you enjoy :) *Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild, and email us with questions/feedback at TherapistsInTheWild@gmail.com.
December 07, 2020
23. How To: Stop Fighting Reality with Radical Acceptance
In this week's episode, Liza and Molly take on the challenge of introducing the skill of Radical Acceptance, or, as they prefer to call it, "Radical Acknowledgement [of Reality]." This is some of the "deeper work" in DBT, as it has the capacity to both reduce suffering and create meaningful change in your life. We start by defining what Radical Acceptance is (hint: it is NOT approving of or liking reality, being passive, or against change), and discuss what it is using a wide range of examples. We then explore how this skill reduces suffering in a variety of ways; for example, radically accepting past regrets often reduces feelings of guilt and shame, and radically accepting (or radically acknowledging) behavior that you disapprove of can decrease anger toward others. Finally, Molly shares a personal example to demonstrate that when you stop fighting or ignoring reality and truly acknowledge that everything is caused, the result is often grief followed by a deeper sense of peace, meaning, and the capacity to get on with building a Life Worth Living. This episode is all about what radical acceptance is, and next week we will be talking more specifically about how to practice it. We hope you enjoy :) *Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild, and email us with questions/feedback at TherapistsInTheWild@gmail.com.
November 30, 2020
22. How To: Self-Soothe and Distract With "ACCEPTS"
On today's episode, the TITW are teaching the final set of Crisis Survival Distress Tolerance skills covered in Season 1 of the podcast: Distract using "ACCEPTS" and Self-Soothe. Before we get into it, Molly and Liza share how they practiced TIP and Urge Surfing over the last week. No surprise here, but Tipping the Temperature was immediately effective at changing the current moment and creating a new one. Liza points out that Urge Surfing can be used to ride out ineffective urges anywhere - even in the middle of a stressful Zoom call. We then introduce "ACCEPTS," which is an acronym of different ways to distract from life’s current stressors when addressing them head-on either isn't possible or wouldn't be effective in the moment. Using personal examples, we share different ways to distract from pain in the short-term with Activities, Contributing, Comparisons, (opposite) Emotions, Pushing away, Thoughts, and Sensations. Finally, we transition into teaching the Self-Soothe skill, which is about extending comfort to yourself during painful moments by engaging your five senses (vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch). Liza coaches Molly to use this skill in real time, and we share some tricks of the trade, including how to make and keep a "self-soothe kit" on hand at all times - in case of emergency. We hope you enjoy! *Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild. Email us with questions at TherapistsInTheWild@gmail.com.
November 23, 2020
21. How To: Surf Urges and Tolerate Distress Using "TIP"
If there was ever a time to practice Distress Tolerance skills, it is now! Liza and Molly recorded this episode on election night, when they needed *all* the skills. After a quick review of the STOP skill, you will learn the skill of Urge Surfing, which is a mindfulness technique that helps you surf urges to engage in ineffective behaviors instead of acting on them, using your breath as your surfboard. After teaching the skill, Molly leads you through a guided Urge Surfing exercise, to help you put this skill into practice. Next, Liza and Molly introduce the TIP skills -- a TITW and DBT-fan favorite. The TIP skills include, 1) Tip the Temperature, 2) Intense Exercise, 3) Paced Breathing, and 4) Paired Muscle Relaxation. Molly and Liza practice Tipping the Temperature live on air, and Molly hilariously dunks her entire face in a bowl of cold water to help demonstrate how well this skill works. Finally, Liza leads you through a guided Paired Muscle Relaxation practice so you can relieve any remaining tension in your body before ending the episode. We hope you enjoy! *To see visual demonstrations of the TIP skills, we recommend you check out the DBT-RU YouTube Page: https://www.youtube.com/c/DBTRU/videos *Follow TITW on Instagram and Facebook @ TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild. As always, feel free to email us with questions, special topic requests, or feedback at TherapistsInTheWild@gmail.com.
November 09, 2020
20. How To: Survive a Crisis Without Making It Worse
Welcome to the Distress Tolerance module, which is the final set of skills covered in Season 1 of the podcast! We share exciting plans that are in the works for Season 2, including a variety of guests and special topics requested by listeners. In introducing the module, we explain the goals of Distress Tolerance skills and how the module divides them into two parts: 1) Crisis Survival skills and 2) Reality Acceptance skills. Liza and Molly define the term "crisis" and give examples of what a crisis might look in your life; for example, some people who are more emotionally sensitive and who have experienced chronic invalidation might experience crises on a daily basis while others may only experience them during the hardest moments of their lives, or somewhere in between. We then describe when to use Crisis Survival skills as well as times that it would be ineffective to do so. Finally, we teach the first Crisis Survival skill: the "STOP" skill (Stop, Take a step back, Observe, and Proceed mindfully). STOP is the first skill to use when you’re extremely distressed because, as the episode title suggests, it will prevent you from impulsively acting on emotion urges that could make the situation worse. Hope you enjoy :) *Follow TITW on Instagram and Facebook @ TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild. Email us with questions, special topic requests, or feedback at TherapistsInTheWild@gmail.com.
November 02, 2020
19. How To: Stay Grounded During Stressful Times
Join Molly as she leads you through a brief, guided mindfulness practice: the Mountain Meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn (2002). This meditation will help you experience a sense of being grounded, enabling you to access your inner strength and stability when faced with challenging circumstances, as many of us are right now. Stress and anxiety make it more difficult to connect to the present moment and access Wise Mind, both of which are critical to acting effectively in all interpersonal interactions. As we discussed in last week's episode, cultivating a sense of inner strength by connecting with your values and being fair to yourself is key to self-respect effectiveness. We hope this practice will help you feel more like a mountain, unwavering in your values and rooted in a stable sense of self, even in the face of anxiety-provoking conversations, painful relationship dynamics, and constant internal and external change. *Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @ TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild.
October 26, 2020
18. How To: Honor Your Self-Respect Using "FAST"
This episode begins with Molly sharing how she delivered a DEAR MAN using GIVE skills this week to promote TITW on a social media site (it worked!). Then, we get into the topic for this week: using FAST skills to increase and maintain self-respect. This skill is all about feeling proud of yourself after an interaction because you communicated in a way that honored your personal values. Liza and Molly discuss the idea that your actions influence others' behavior, and therefore the importance of saying no and communicating personal limits. We use lots of examples and funny role plays to introduce the FAST skills, another questionable acronym that stands for being Fair to yourself, making no Apologies, Sticking to values, and being Truthful. Throughout the episode, Molly and Liza discuss the role self-validation plays in honoring self-respect, how lying can degrade self-respect over time, and how practicing FAST skills can lead to a more stable sense of self by delineating where you end and others begin. We wrap up the episode with a series of role plays to illustrate how you can use FAST skills to assert yourself when delivering a DEAR MAN, or when simply highlighting behavior you'd like to change. We hope you enjoy :) *Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @ TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild.
October 19, 2020
17. How To: Maintain and Improve Relationships Using "GIVE"
Molly and Liza begin today's episode with a review of the core interpersonal effectiveness skill in DBT: DEAR MAN. Liza shares a homework example in which she delivered a DEAR MAN to provide constructive feedback to a colleague, balancing priorities related to objective and relationship effectiveness. Then, we transition into discussing how to deliver a DEAR MAN when the relationship is the main priority. We introduce guidelines for relationship effectiveness through (yet) another acronym: "GIVE" (Be Gentle, Act Interested, Validate, and Easy Manner). Throughout the episode, Liza and Molly pay particular attention to a listener question about resentment, and Molly shares an example that highlights how these guidelines can be used to address this crucial issue in relationships. We end the episode with role plays that emphasize how to use the GIVE skills to ask for what you want or say no when prioritizing the relationship is your main goal. We hope you enjoy! *Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @ TherapistsInTheWild, and Twitter @TherapistsWild.
October 12, 2020
16. How To: Get What You Want Using "DEAR MAN"
This week on TITW, Molly and Liza teach "DEAR MAN," a simple acronym that will help you be effective in asking for what you want, communicating a personal limit, or even saying no to another's request. DEAR MAN is the foundation of all the DBT interpersonal effectiveness skills, and this week's episode focuses specifically on applying the skill when achieving your objective is the main goal. We will continue building on the material from this episode as we teach how to prioritize the relationship and self-respect in the coming weeks. To introduce the skill, Liza shares a fun fact about what she originally thought DEAR MAN was ;) Then, we review the acronym, providing tips and examples throughout. DEAR (Describe, Express, Assert, Reinforce) stands for "what" you do in the conversation, and MAN (Stay Mindful, Appear Confident, Negotiate) stands for "how" you do it. Finally, instead of coaching, Liza and Molly laugh their way through various role plays to give you a sense of what some skillful - and less skillful - DEAR MAN (MEN?) look like. Enjoy! *Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
October 05, 2020
15. How To: Prioritize Goals in Interpersonal Interactions
Welcome to the Interpersonal Effectiveness module! Liza and Molly begin by discussing their plan to explore topics such as cultural adaptations of these (and other DBT) skills in Season 2 of the podcast, which we will begin after we finish teaching all of the skills as they are written in Marsha Linehan’s DBT manual this season. To introduce the module, we explore the benefits of using these skills, as well as factors that commonly interfere with effective interpersonal communication. Using examples, we identify the three goals of interpersonal effectiveness: 1) objective effectiveness, 2) relationship effectiveness, and 3) self-respect effectiveness. Finally, through coaching, Liza helps Molly rank the relative importance of these goals in a challenging professional relationship, which will inform how Molly handles the situation. We hope you enjoy! *Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
September 28, 2020
14. How Emotion Dysregulation Develops with Dr. Kiki Fehling
The TITW are joined by Dr. Kiki Fehling, clinical psychologist (and former member of our Rutgers DBT team!), to discuss the Biosocial Theory of how emotion dysregulation (and BPD) develops. After graduating from Yale University, Kiki earned her PhD from Rutgers University and has received intensive training in DBT, CBT, and evidence-based trauma treatments. While she has worked with a broad range of clients, she has particular expertise working with members of the LGBTQ+ community, people recovering from significant traumas and health or medical issues, and people who engage in self-harm. As DBT is based on the Biosocial Theory of personality functioning, Kiki explains the premise that emotion dysregulation results from early biological vulnerabilities for emotional sensitivity combined with chronic and pervasive invalidation, as well as their interaction and transaction over time. Throughout the episode, we discuss how understanding this model can help with emotion regulation and improve relationships. Enjoy, and stay skillful! *Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
September 14, 2020
13. (In)Validation With Hillary Ditmars
Molly and Liza are joined by a special guest, Hillary Ditmars, a skilled DBT therapist nearing the end of her doctoral program in Clinical Psychology (and Liza’s close friend and college roommate!). Hillary has experience providing DBT to adolescents and families in partial hospital and intensive outpatient programs, and has taught the skill of validation in both multi-family and parent-only settings. In this episode, we explore the key concept of validation, as well as its reverse: invalidation. Validation involves communicating to another person that their feelings, thoughts, or actions make sense and are understandable in a particular situation. We teach how to validate yourself and others, and also discuss how these are key skills for emotion regulation and effective interpersonal interactions. Conversely, invalidation involves denying, rejecting, or dismissing another person's feelings by communicating that their subjective emotional experience is inaccurate, insignificant, and/or unacceptable. We discuss short- and long-term effects of invalidation, including self-invalidation, exaggerated expression of emotions, increased dependence on others, identify confusion, and more. We wrap up the episode with another nerdy DBT exercise: The Validation Game, in which we practice these skills and reflect on how it feels to be validated vs. invalidated by each other. We hope you enjoy! *Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TherapistsInTheWild
September 07, 2020
12. How To: Build Mastery and Cope Ahead
Welcome to TITW: Sports Edition! In this episode, Molly and Liza use an uncharacteristic amount of sports examples to illustrate the last two skills of the Emotion Regulation module: Building Mastery and Coping Ahead. Before we get into the material for the week, we share listener examples of go-to pleasant activities, and Molly describes a recent situation where being overly goal-oriented increased suffering and refocusing on values reduced suffering. Next, we explain how to Build Mastery by doing things that make you feel competent and effective to combat helplessness, hopelessness, and even depression. Liza and Molly discuss what we can all learn from the most successful professional athletes in terms of building mastery. To wrap up the module, we teach how to Cope Ahead of time with emotional situations. This includes rehearsing a plan ahead of time to prepare you to cope skillfully with anticipated challenges. Finally, Liza coaches Molly to Cope Ahead for and Build Mastery in playing tennis. We hope you enjoy :) *Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TherapistsInTheWild
August 31, 2020
11. How To: Build A Life Worth Living
In this episode, Liza describes how she applied the coaching from last week's episode on Problem Solving and Mindfulness of Current Emotions and Thoughts to email her neighbors about the noise, and shares their surprising response ;) We then transition into teaching how to reduce vulnerability to Emotion Mind in order to build a Life Worth Living. We start with the most straightforward (and not always easy) way to take care of your mind by taking care of your body: the PLEASE skills, which, if you've ever been "hangry" like we have, you will intuitively understand. We then discuss how Accumulating Positive Emotions in the short-term by doing one pleasant activity per day increases the likelihood that you will respond effectively to whatever life throws at you -- like putting money away for a rainy day. Lastly, we explain how to Accumulate Positive Emotions in the long-term in order to build a Life Worth Living. This is done by identifying core values, which give our lives meaning, and using those values to guide the process of setting goals and taking action steps. We hope you enjoy! *Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on Instagram or Facebook @therapistsinthewild with examples of pleasant daily activities you engage in so we can share them on social media and on next week's episode!
August 24, 2020
10. How To: Keep Calm and Problem Solve
It is our tenth episode of TITW! This week, Molly and Liza start by sharing how they practiced Opposite Action in work-related situations: Molly used it to combat procrastination urges and feelings of shame about avoiding "paperwork" (a word no one wants to hear), and Liza used it to set boundaries around doing work at night. We then introduce a creative approach to Problem Solving, which can be used when your emotion and its intensity does fit the facts, and the situation is the problem. Using examples, we walk you through the steps of how DBT approaches problem-solving, which we hope will expand your repertoire of potential solutions to any given problem. Because a fear or unwillingness to experience uncomfortable thoughts and feelings is often a barrier to effective problem-solving, we then teach you how to apply Mindfulness of Current Thoughts and Emotions when unwanted emotions arise. We end the episode with Molly helping Liza apply these skills to the (very relatable) problem of confronting noisy neighbors. We hope you enjoy!
August 17, 2020
9. How To: Act Opposite to Emotion Urges
This week, Liza and Molly share examples of Checking the Facts to regulate emotions. Molly gives tips for changing interpretations when having trouble falling asleep, and Liza talks about a time when asking another person to Check the Facts for you can successfully alleviate anxiety. We then introduce one possible "step 3" in your emotion regulation playbook by describing one of our all-time favorite skills: Opposite Action, which can be used when your emotion and/or emotional intensity does not fit the facts, and/or it would be not be effective to act on your emotion urge. We teach you the steps of Opposite Action through the examples of combating both pandemic-related depression and "white fragility." Instead of our typical coaching, we end the episode by sharing our story of using Opposite Action to start the podcast. We hope you enjoy!
August 10, 2020
8. How To: Check the Facts to Change Reactions
In this episode, Liza and Molly share their experiences distinguishing between their primary vs. secondary emotions over the past week. We reflect on how early learning history, which includes gender socialization, affects how we understand, respond to, and cope with present events. Then, we get into the skill of the week: Check the Facts, which is the second step in the process of emotion regulation after identifying the emotion. Changing interpretations, beliefs, and assumptions to more accurately fit the facts of the situation enables us to have very different emotional reactions to the same situation. We review the steps involved in Checking the Facts when interpretations like, "they must be mad at me" show up while waiting for a delayed text back. We highlight the final step of this process: actually determining whether your emotion -- and/or its intensity -- fits the facts of a situation (hint: consult Wise Mind!). Finally, Liza coaches Molly on how to Check the Facts related to dog-mom shame and beliefs like, "I'm an irresponsible dog mom" that arise when Wilson misbehaves on walks. We hope you enjoy!
August 03, 2020
7. How To: Know What You're *Really* Feeling
The episode starts with a review of Molly and Liza's experience labeling emotions over the last week. Liza shares a journaling strategy for observing emotions in order to design a more fulfilling life, and Molly explains how taking the time to check in with herself during a busy work day made her more effective. We then review the first step in coping with unwanted emotions: breaking them down into component parts. We hone in on the feeling of shame, as many individuals who struggle with emotion regulation are also highly shame-prone. We explore how feelings like shame and anger are related through a discussion of primary vs. secondary emotions, and how this distinction can help you identify how you're *really* feeling. We also describe how noticing anger as a secondary emotion to shame is particularly useful for understanding the concept of "white fragility," and we will continue to review skills to combat white fragility in the coming weeks. We switch it up this week by ending with a nerdy DBT emotion regulation mythbusters game. Enjoy!
July 27, 2020
6. How To: Understand and Name Emotions
In this episode, Molly and Liza wrap up their teaching of mindfulness skills with homework review and then introduce the next set of skills: Emotion Regulation. Molly was proud to report that she followed up on her coaching from Episode 4, in which she consulted Wise Mind when anger showed up and responded assertively. After making a quick plug for practicing DBT skills (particularly Wise Mind) because of the feeling of mastery that comes with it, Molly and Liza get into the topic of the week: how to understand and name emotions. Using one too many car examples, we explain the importance of accurately labeling emotions as the first step to regulating them. We describe the different components of an emotion including physiological sensations, thoughts and interpretations, and behavioral urges. Lastly, Molly coaches Liza on how to cope with rumination after receiving negative feedback. We hope you enjoy!
July 20, 2020
5. Listener Questions: DBT, Mindfulness, and Dialectics with Madison Perry
The Therapists in the Wild are joined by their close friend and colleague, Madison Perry, to answer your listener questions! Madison is a very talented child and family therapist with experience offering adherent DBT to youth and families. We are thrilled to have her, as she brings a unique perspective given her experience providing DBT to the larger family system. In this episode, we all weigh in on listener questions regarding why therapists share personal examples in DBT, whether we should aspire to be mindful all the time, how to apply mindfulness skills to a variety of day-to-day issues, and what to do when you’re practicing dialectical thinking in an interpersonal conflict and the other person is not. We discuss the distinction between rumination/worry vs. reminiscing/problem solving, and Molly shares a West Wing quote to explain how therapists can use their personal experiences to help clients (and now has homework to actually watch West Wing :). We hope you enjoy!
July 13, 2020
4. How To: Consult Wise Mind to Act Effectively
This episode, we start by reviewing how to have a Nonjudgmental stance. Liza shares a "fire-y" example, and Molly tries to channel her dogs by adopting a "beginner's mind." Then, we get into the skill of the week: consulting Wise Mind to act Effectively. We teach you to be the captain of your own ship, to make decisions taking into account both your goals and the context you're in. We describe the differences between Emotion Mind, Reasonable Mind, and Wise Mind, and then show you how to get into Wise Mind with an impromptu mindfulness exercise. Finally, Liza coaches Molly on using her Wise Mind to act Effectively when anger shows up. We hope you enjoy! Please share your feedback and questions with us at email@example.com. Stay skillful!
June 29, 2020
3. How To: Get Rid of "Shoulds" By Acting Nonjudgmentally
Liza and Molly begin the episode by reviewing their practice of the fundamental DBT mindfulness "What" skills: Observe, Describe, and Participate. Molly reflects on the importance of using these skills to notice and name uncomfortable emotions, and Liza warns listeners about the dangers of significant others using DBT skills against you ;) We then teach the skill of the week: Nonjudgmentally. We know it's hard to avoid judgments about being nonjudgmental (we had them too!) so we address many of the common concerns and misconceptions about this skill. Judgments (about yourself or others) negatively impact relationships, emotions, and problem solving, so we provide steps to re-frame inevitable judgments using the core Observe and Describe mindfulness skills we reviewed last week. Finally, Molly provides coaching on a very timely situation that Liza is having lots of judgments about. We encourage you to practice the skill of acting nonjudgmentally alongside us, and share your experiences with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay skillful!
June 22, 2020
2. How To: Be Here Now By Observing, Describing, and Participating
In this episode, we discuss our experience practicing dialectical thinking (hint: it wasn't as simple as it sounded last week!). We laughed about our past judgments about mindfulness and discussed what we've since learned about its practical applicability in everyday life. We then teach the skills of the week: Observe, Describe and Participate. Finally, Liza coaches Molly to apply each of these skills to stay present in conversations when feeling "fried" after a long day. As always, we encourage you to practice these skills alongside us and share your experiences with us at email@example.com. We hope you enjoy!
June 11, 2020
1. How To: Get Unstuck Using Dialectical Thinking
In this episode, we introduce you to co-hosts Molly and Liza, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and the concept of dialectical thinking. We discuss how dialectics can help you get unstuck in intra or interpersonal struggles. We also talk about Sweetgreen's dialectical approach to innovating during COVID-19. Finally, Molly coaches Liza to apply dialectical thinking to wedding planning in the midst of a global pandemic.
May 27, 2020