Crestwood Behavioral Health


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Making a Difference

My name is Patrick. I have been learning about DBT for 6 or 7 months at Crestwood San Diego. I have noticed that DBT is helping me in a lot of ways. Before I started DBT I did not handle problems in a healthy way. DBT has taught me some healthy skills. I have learned to recognize when I am feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed. I have been practicing some ways to calm myself down until I can feel my muscles relax and my hands unclench.

I don’t have to act on my feelings right away. I can put the problem off to the side for a while and come back to it after I am feeling more relaxed. I have also learned that I have options. I can choose how I want to respond when I am feeling threatened or ignored. I have learned that taking the “opposite action” than how I want to respond can help things work out better. I have learned that my brain can only work on one thing at a time. I practice staying focused and working through the immediate situation. I have learned to love myself and I am becoming much more accepting of other people. I have to really practice being non-judgmental sometimes, but I’m getting better at it.

I really like mindfulness because it has made me think more about myself and my surroundings. I can see the big picture now and that helps me make better decisions that won’t cause me more problems later. I sometimes have trouble attending groups, but I try to make myself go anyway. I am able to learn from other peoples experience and their stories sometimes. I can also learn from the leaders when they are teaching the skills, I try to think of how that skill would help me.

I used to be very shy about asking questions. DBT has taught me how to ask the questions that are on my mind and get answers. Then I don’t have to worry or wonder about things. DBT has given me the courage to ask and a lot of the time the answers have been better than what I thought.

I want to learn more about DBT. I plan on practicing the skills I have learned and getting some new ones too. I plan on getting more tools in my toolbox, because you can never have too many tools. After I leave Crestwood San Diego I think I would continue to come back for DBT groups and meetings with my counselor, even if I have to spend a long time on the bus to get there.

Thanks for showing interest in me and thanks for the opportunity to learn DBT.

Contributed by: Patrick (with Scot Lord, Crestwood San Diego, Director of Education)