DBT Group: Week Four – Checking the Facts

Module: Emotion Regulation
List of Handouts and Worksheets covered in group and assigned as homework will be listed at the end of this post.

Homework Take-Up:
Handout:
Emotion Regulation Handout 8 – Check the Facts
Worksheet:
Emotion Regulation Worksheet 5 – Check the Facts

Emotion Regulation Handout 7 – Overview: Changing Emotional Responses
– Checking the Facts
– Doing Action Opposite to Emotion
– Working to Solve the Problem

Starting with:
Emotion Regulation Handout 7 – Overview: Changing Emotional Responses
First Box (Overview): Check the Facts
Moving to:
Emotion Regulation Handout 8 – Check the Facts

When dealing with an emotion it can be difficult to move through the problem, or past it when our minds are clouded with interpretations or judgments, and if we are actually dealing with the situation and its primary emotion, or if we are dealing with the secondary emotion.

It can take some effort to pull it apart and see what we’re really dealing with, and checking the facts helps us to do this.

When I first started this homework I didn’t think this would really work or help me. This was in part because I thought I was already dealing with facts (hello, Emotion Myth, when did you get here?). As I started the Worksheet and the prompt was to rewrite the facts I was stumped.

I chose the emotion fear, and what caused the feeling of fear was that I didn’t think I was good enough to enter a contest. I was afraid that I would fail, that I would suck, and that I just wasn’t good enough. Not just good enough to win, but good enough period. To me, these were facts. But when I stepped back and considered the statements, I had to ask, were they really facts?

My first fear was that I would fail. As in I wouldn’t win the contest, and that would make me a failure. Now, is this a fact?

No, actually it isn’t. It’s an assumption, and pretty big assumption considering the situation. Yes, there is a possibility that I might not win the contest, but did that make me a failure? The fact would be that I didn’t win. That’s it. Even if I don’t win that doesn’t automatically translate to being a failure. I might feel like a failure but that doesn’t make it true, nor does it make it a fact.

My second fear was that that I would suck. This was basically a thought between being a failure and my third fear of not being good enough. It too is also not a fact. By not winning, that doesn’t mean I would suck. Again, it just means I didn’t win. So, me sucking? Not a fact.

My third and biggest fear was that I wasn’t good enough. This is a belief I have had about myself for a long time, years, decades actually, and I apply it to a number of things, from whether people like me, to being capable of starting, or completing a project, to just believing that me as a person is just not good enough. So, to me, this is a fact. A big one.

When I checked the facts on this one, I thought ‘yep, there’s a big ol’ fact.’ But when I checked Emotion Regulation Handout 6, Fear, this thought fell under “Interpretations”. Hmm. Really? This is an interpretation? So not a fact? I was sure that this didn’t apply to me, but then, what if it did? What if this was an interpretation? What if this was not a fact at all? Did that mean that I was good enough? Somehow that didn’t sound right. I was good enough even if I didn’t win the contest? Interesting.

The Worksheet really makes you break it down to just the facts. Every time I wrote down that I wasn’t good enough, the Worksheet would tell me, “Check the facts!” Are there any other outcomes to this situation? Aside from being not good enough? Oh, sorry, just that facts. Well, I suppose an outcome could be that there’s a chance I could win. A long shot I’d say but if you’re looking for facts then yeah, I could win.

Let’s say the worst case scenario is that I don’t win, what would that mean? Well, I hate to sound like a broken record but I believe it would mean I’m not good enough. “Oh really?” – says the Worksheet…did you Check the Facts? Hmm. Okay so I was forced to admit that whatever happened with this situation, I was good enough. I may not win but that didn’t make me a total failure or that I wasn’t good enough.

Breaking down my fear, which initially felt like it was because of a major personality flaw I have, it was actually not true. The emotion of fear itself was warranted because submitting to a contest can absolutely feel scary, especially when it’s judging something subjective like an opinion or a piece of art. I might not win but having not winning mean I was a total failure, or not good enough, was not warranted.

This was quite an eye opener for me.

I found out that checking the facts kind of poked holes in my reasons for not trying, and being too afraid to enter the contest.

Touche Worksheet 5.

For the record, I have yet to enter the contest because I’m still working on believing the facts, but I am much closer to going through with it because of checking the facts.

For a guideline on how to check the facts, click here.

Lesson Taught: Second Half of Group:
The lesson for the second half of group we discussed Emotion Regulation Handout 10 – Opposite Action.

Opposite Action is for when the emotion doesn’t fit the facts, or if acting on the emotion won’t help or change anything.

More on Opposite Action in the next post.

Bye for now!

Skills, Handouts, and Worksheets from DBT Skills Training Manual, Second Edition, by Marsha M. Linehan. Copyright 2015 by Marsha M. Linehan.

 

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