Many years ago, I was a single young woman with a busy career and lots of fun hobbies. One of those hobbies resulted in a broken foot that required months of healing. After two months, the healing slowed and my orthopedic doctor told me that surgery may be required. BUT, he said, let’s try physical therapy first. I was assigned three days a week of physical therapy plus stretches to do at home every morning and every evening. “Do this for 90 days,” he told me, and that we would only discuss surgery at the end of the 90 days. So, I did exactly as my doctor prescribed. Sort of.
Life got in the way pretty quickly of my therapy regimen. Getting off work in time to get to physical therapy was difficult. Sometimes I remembered to do those stretches at home. Sometimes I didn’t. I had a social life after all and responsibilities. After a couple weeks, I decided that this regimen wasn’t working; my foot was still very inflexible. So, I made an appointment with my doctor to tell him that I had decided to just have the surgery now.
My doctor greeted me warmly in the exam room. I let him know that physical therapy wasn’t working and I was ready for that surgery date. The doctor opened my chart and read it over. He looked at me and asked me about physical therapy. I let him know it most definitely was not working. He glanced at my chart again and said, “you have only gone to physical therapy three times out of the twelve so far.” Well, that was because it wasn’t working, I told him. My orthopedic doctor then said with absolutely no emotion, “do 25% of the work, get 25% of the results. At this rate it will take you one year. I will not see you until then.” He left the exam room. I was livid.
Later that night, after rehearsing in my head all the places I was going to call to complain about this awful doctor refusing to see me for a year……I had an awakening. A spiritual awakening if you will, and it wasn’t pretty. He was right. I wanted to do 25% effort and get 100% results AND in half the time. I was quick to proclaim the therapy wasn’t working but not willing to put in the all-out 100% effort. I woke up the next morning and made my recovery my priority, and you know what? It worked. Just like he said it would.
Committing to DBT is very much like recovering from a serious injury. If you give it 25% of your effort and only during the times that life doesn’t get in the way, you can expect marginal improvement. However, if what you are looking for is life-changing and life-saving therapy then look no further. You have found the most empirically supported and well-studied therapies for anyone living with self-harming behaviors, out of control emotions, borderline personality, bi-polar disorder and more. DBT is your lifeline. I challenge you to grab on and commit yourself, your child, your family, 100% to this process. Go all in.
DBT works, if you work the DBT process.
And the wonderful part is that at our office, you will have therapist that have been trained in DBT and a full DBT Program, not just a DBT informed therapist.