Recovery is a Process: When a Boulder Slams Into Our Recovery Path

Recovery is a Process

“Why try? I’m tired of trying. “Why change? Nothing ever changes?” Many folks in early recovery believe NOTHING will ever get better or they believe things will get better, but only temporarily! They expect that when things are going well, something will happen and ruin everything…the bottom will fall out again and they will end up in the same position or worse. They have trouble believing recovery will make a real difference in their life.

The truth, when we are living a recovery lifestyle things get better in our life. As recovery time increases, the big picture of our life begins to come together and many good things happen. At first, one or two good things happen. When we build on these improvements, several more good things happen…then several more…and several more. Soon, we go from experiencing relief to experiencing some life satisfaction. Over time, periods of joy occur…and meaning returns to our life! The truth, things get better when we get better. Things change when we change.

When a Boulder Lands on Our Recovery Path: Things rock along okay for a while…3 months, 6 months, sometimes longer. We’re dealing with stuff that comes our way…and we’re making gains day by day…and then, something happens. Boom! It’s like a boulder falls out of the sky and smashes right into the middle of our recovery path. We’re now faced with a huge stumbling block…something big…and something hard to get around.

The boulder that slams into our recovery path may be an old friend who shows up one day, maybe someone we’ve been in love with before. We’re feeling all the fun and excitement of the good ol’ times. We’re tempted to spend time with them to relive old times and cherished memories…however, their situation or lifestyle conflicts with our recovery plan. Maybe they still drink or use drugs, or cut, or shoplift…maybe they have a bad attitude or they don’t have steady work and want to stay with us for a while…maybe they’re moody and get very critical and ugly…maybe they’ve abused us before.

The truth…life is going to happen. Difficult things will come our way and boulders will land on our recovery path. The direction our life goes depends on the choice we make when we’re faced with difficult situations. It’s like we come to a fork in the road. We can keep on the right path or we can go down the wrong road. No matter what we do, WE ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE…to stay on the Recovery Path or to go down Relapse Road.

At this point, we’re faced with a major decision…and we have two choices. We can fight to stay on the recovery path and work to deal with the situation productively, or we can relapse into old behaviors and habits to numb-out and white-out the pain and distress. If we choose to stay on the recovery path, we’ll probably have a tough time dealing with the situation. Getting around, through, and passed a boulder takes time and we’re impatient creatures…especially when we’re expected to tolerate discomfort, inconvenience, pain, and suffering without our preferred destructive coping behaviors! We don’t want to tolerate distress and it’s very tempting to give up…and give in to old ways…the ways of relapse. We don’t want to take the time it takes…to deal with the boulder. We want the pain and discomfort to go away…fast. We don’t want the stress. We don’t want the heartache. We just want to be happy. We want life to go smooth…and when it doesn’t, we get discouraged. We want to call it quits. If life has to be like this, we don’t want any part of it.

The truth is…to maintain recovery, we must have an attitude of willingness. We must be willing to do whatever we need to do to be okay and to maintain our recovery. If we don’t do what it takes to stay on the recovery path…if we don’t try hard enough for long enough…it’s likely that we’ll relapse into our former destructive ways. Then, many of the things that became good because of our recovery will once again go bad…and that’s when we’ll walk away saying, “Why did I even try? I always relapse and things get bad again.”

The truth is…when we try…and continue to try to deal with life and all the boulders that come our way, life will get better and better. If we keep on keeping on, we’ll finally get through…passed…over…and around the boulders and obstacles in our recovery. That’s how people recover. They don’t give up…or they don’t give up for long!

Recovery is not one action. It is not something that happens in a day. It is step-by-step, decision by decision, and day after day. It is a lifestyle…and a life-long endeavor!

Why try? Because life gets good when we try and even better when we keep trying and refuse to give up! The something that happens that destroys our life is our decision to relapse. The thing that really breaks us and causes us to bottom-out emotionally and spiritually is a broken promise to ourselves…the promise we make at the start of recovery. It’s the promise that, “I’ll do whatever it takes to be okay…because I’m tired of living this way. Come hail or high water, I’ll do whatever I have to do to be okay…because I refuse to live like this anymore.”

In our recovery, there will be times when we’re holding on by just a thread…but we’re holding on. It’s only when we let go, that we fall. It’s like the saying, “You never fail until you stop trying.”

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Adapted from Chapter 3 “The Pathways of Recovery” from the DBT-CBT recovery workbook “Out-of-Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior” – Copyright 2009 by Melanie Gordon Sheets, Ph.D.  (www.dbt-cbt-workbook.com)

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The Strength to Love Again

It certainly takes a lot to open our hearts to truly love again. It’s about the willingness to take the risk to love again…to trust that this love will bring us joy and not pain…or that it will bring us much more joy than pain…or that this love will enhance our lives in such a meaningful way that any pain experienced is well worth it and that in the long run, our lives will be much more beautiful and complete because we loved again.

A wise mind knows that when we truly love, we will also truly experience pain.  Pain is often a by-product of love…even the most perfect or true love. The deeper we love…the deeper our pain is likely to be. That’s why some who have been  been deeply hurt by love, have made a conscious decision to never love again. They “refuse” to love again. They guard against lowering their guard…they work very hard to maintain a closed heart, to be detached, and to not care too much. They are not willing to open their lives to love again.

So, in their efforts to protect themselves against future pain, they cause themselves ongoing pain and suffering. Their daily lives are marked with pain…loneliness, anger, resentment, bitterness, unresolved emotional issues and concerns…and the pain of unfulfilled needs for attachment and love.

It takes great strength to open our hearts to love again…because we know that loving someone will also bring pain. It’s the acceptance that nothing is perfect…and the knowing that our lives and the lives of those we love will be much better because we loved again.

Note:  The accompanying photo/poster was copied from a Facebook posting.  It is not an original work! 

A Modified DBT-CBT Recovery Program for a Forensic Population: A Presentation at the 2011 Texas Forensic Mental Health Conference

Texas Forensic Mental Health Services:
Issues in Treatment, Evaluation, and in the Court

October 25 – 27, 2011

Presented by North Texas State Hospital – Vernon Campus – Vernon, Texas
Wilbarger County Auditorium

Featuring:

Dr. Robert Morgan “Treating the Mentally Disordered Offender: A Model and Guide for Practice” 

Robert D. Morgan completed his Ph.D. in counseling psychology at Oklahoma State University and a postdoctoral fellowship in forensic psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. He is currently the John G. Skelton, Jr. Regents Endowed Professor in Psychology at Texas Tech University and the Director of forensic services at Lubbock Regional Mental Health Mental Retardation Services.  His research has been continuously funded for the past 8 years including by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Justice. He is co-author of The clinician’s guide to violence risk assessment (2011) and co-authoring Treating the Mentally Disordered Offender: A Model and Guide for Empirically Supported Practice to be published by Oxford University Press. He is also the Series Editor-in-Chief for Correctional Interventions that Work also to be published by Oxford University Press. His research and scholarly activities include treatment and assessment of mentally disordered offenders, forensic assessment, and professional development and training.

Also Featuring:

Dr. Melanie Gordon Sheets“A Modified DBT-CBT Recovery Program for a Forensic Population: Treating Individuals with Highly Destructive Coping Behaviors”

Melanie Gordon Sheets, Ph.D. is the Chief Psychologist at Big Spring State Hospital, the Co-Director of the Lone Star Psychology Residency Consortium, and a Clinical Assistant Professor with Texas Tech University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry.  She earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. She has worked with psychiatric inpatients for 25 years and in Texas state mental health facilities since 1992. Specialty areas have included individual and group psychotherapy, psychological assessment (personality, neuropsychological, malingering, and trial competency evaluations) with forensic, VA, and general psychiatric inpatients. She has authored a therapy workbook entitled, “Out-of-Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Gaining Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior” – 2009. Recovery Works Publications. She has conducted the DBT-CBT group at Big Spring State Hospital since 2004.

Dr. Stacey Shipley“Competency to Stand Trial: Forensic Evaluation, Report Writing, & Expert Testimony”

Stacey L. Shipley, Psy.D., completed her doctorate in forensic psychology from California School of Professional Psychology in Fresno, California and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas with a Minor in Criminal Justice.  Her clinical and forensic training has focused on both adults and adolescents, particularly in forensic settings. Dr. Shipley is a licensed psychologist in Texas, Iowa, and North Carolina and is the Director of Psychology at North Texas State Hospital.  She specializes in forensic evaluations (e.g., CST, fitness to proceed, insanity, risk assessments, psychopathy classification) and treating maternal filicide offenders. Her professional presentations have included those areas of forensic practice, as well as the relationship between mental illness and violent crime.  She has published articles in the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, regarding psychopathy and its clinical implications.  She has also published chapters on maternal filicide, serial rape and murder typologies, forensic case formulation for adult sex offenders, and co-authored Introduction to Forensic Psychology: Issues and Controversies in Crime and Justice (2nd Ed.) and the upcoming (3rd Ed.) published by Academic Press.  She co-authored The Female Homicide Offender: Serial Murder and the Case of Aileen Wuornos (2004) published by Prentice Hall’s Women in Criminal Justice Series.      

Additional features and workshops include:

Andrew W. Carruthers, J.D.; Brent A. Carr, J.D.; and Brian D. Shannon, J.D.“Interface Between the Courts and Forensic Hospitals Judges Panel”

Presentations by a legal scholar, felony and misdemeanor court judges, followed by a panel discussion of the legal experts.

Michele Borynski, Ph.D. & Jennifer Russell, Ph.D.“Violence Risk Assessment: An Overview for Community & Inpatient Evaluations”

Thomas R. Mareth, M.D. – Chair DSHS Dangerousness Review Board“Dangerous Review Board Training”

About North Texas State Hospital (excerpted from http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/mhhospitals/northtexassh/ntsh_about.shtm)
History of Wichita Falls State Hospital
“In 1917, the State of Texas created the Northwest Texas Insane Asylum. It was located on 940 acres seven miles south of Wichita Falls…In 1925, the name was changed to Wichita Falls State Hospital (WFSH). It had a modern surgical operating room, radiology, laboratory, electrotherapy apparatus, and hydrotherapy equipment. By 1930, the census was over 1500 patients with a staff of 235, including seven doctors and 93 attendants. During the height of the Depression, the hospital was virtually a self-sustaining community. It had an agricultural enterprise that included farming, hogs, chickens, and cattle. Most of the staff lived on the campus.

By World War II, the hospital consisted of 35 brick buildings and 60 frame structures. Due to wartime shortage of available employees, 234 staff members served approximately 2400 patients. Staff worked six days per week, 12 hours per day. Six nurses rotated coverage at night; three staff members offered occupational therapy. The end of the war saw the total number of employees rise to 503 by the early 1950’s. In 1951, Vernon State Home was activated as a branch of WFSH at the old Victory Field Army Air Corps training field. Vernon served about 400 patients “who do not require an active medical or psychiatric program,” while WFSH continued with a census of 2400. Volunteer programs and charitable donations made life more pleasant for the patients during this period.

In 1955, psychiatric treatment was revolutionized with the introduction of psychotropic medications. Major changes in mental health care continued to occur in the 1960’s. The Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation was created. New community MHMR centers and outreach programs were established through the state hospital system to better serve the citizens of Texas. The first volunteer services coordinator was hired in 1960, and the first social worker was hired in 1966. Vernon State Hospital (VSH) was established as a state hospital separate from WFSH in 1969. Child and adolescent services were added in the early 1970’s. With more effective medications, increased community services, and placement in nursing homes, the hospital census dropped below 900 by the middle of the decade…

The 1980’s saw the genesis of psychosocial programming and programs such as the client worker program, Fairweather Lodge, and Career Village. These programs profoundly affected the ability of patients to return to their communities. Vernon State Hospital was redefined as the state’s forensic psychiatric facility in 1987; as a result, WFSH’s catchment area grew from 23 counties to 53. By late in the decade, the average census at WFSH had fallen below 500, while the number of admissions and discharges increased. The hospital was more effectively and efficiently treating more people. The end of the decade also saw the introduction of the first atypical antipsychotic drug, Clozaril. Although extremely expensive and wrought with many side effects, it could effect profound improvement in some persons with mental illness.

Another change in Wichita Falls State Hospital’s operation came in 1993 when the responsibility for the substance abuse recovery program was removed from the state hospitals and given to the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse…Concern for healthcare costs and methods lead TDMHMR to explore new and more efficient ways of doing business. As a result of that initiative, TDMHMR initiated the merger of the administrations of Wichita Falls State Hospital and Vernon State Hospital in January 1996.”

History of Vernon State Hospital

The first state psychiatric facility in Vernon, TX, was a geriatric extension of Wichita Falls State Hospital called the Annex. It was first opened in 1951 at Victory Field, the former World War II Army Air Corp pilot training facility south of the city. It served about 400 “senile-type” patients. In 1967, construction of a new psychiatric rehabilitative facility began on 69 acres at the northwest edge of Vernon. In 1969, Vernon State Center began operation as a state hospital serving general psychiatric patients from 30 counties of northern Texas, independent of Wichita Falls State Hospital. It offered inpatient psychiatric services to a predominantly rural population and also operated seven rural-based outreach centers…

In 1971, the Texas Legislature created a statewide treatment facility for drug dependent youth. Because of Vernon’s remote location from the metropolitan drug scene, it was selected to be the site for this new service…Over the years, the adolescent population evolved: From the first years as a drug treatment facility, the need became one to serve teens with a dual diagnosis of drug dependency and a mental illness. The program – serving an average census of 75 patients — was eventually renamed the Adolescent Forensic Program (AFP) because approximately 90% of the patients had, in addition to a dual diagnosis, an involvement with the law enforcement/judicial system.

In 1983, Vernon State Center’s name was changed to Vernon State Hospital (VSH) to maintain continuity throughout the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (TDMHMR) system.

  • Persons with felony charges who have been found incompetent to stand trial;
  • Persons admitted for pre-trial evaluations for competency and issues of insanity;
    • Persons found not guilty by reason of insanity;
    • Persons from other state hospitals who have been found to be manifestly dangerous;
    • Mentally retarded persons who have been found incompetent to stand trial on misdemeanor or felony charges;
    • Persons from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) and other jails who need inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. [The hospital has never been asked to fulfill this mandate as TDCJ developed its own psychiatric services.]…

The year 1995 also marked the birth of an initiative between TDMHMR, the Texas Youth Commission (TYC), Vernon State Hospital, the City of Vernon, and the Vernon Business Development Corporation to open a TYC youth boot camp facility at VSH’s South Campus. As a result of the cooperative efforts of all parties, the VSH South Campus (Victory Field facility) was leased to the Texas Youth Commission the following year. The VSH Adolescent Forensic Program transferred to the VSH North Campus in September 1996, moving into four renovated buildings on the south side of the Maximum Security Program. The move necessitated an $8.5 million construction project, resulting in the building of the Mooney Building, which houses the adult Behavior Management and Treatment Program, and the Heatly Building, a new adolescent activity building. It also necessitated additions to the administrative complex, new fencing, and other renovations. By the late fall of 1997, the adult maximum security and adolescent forensic programs were fully operational at one campus location.

In January 1996, TDMHMR combined the administrations of Vernon State Hospital and Wichita Falls State Hospital under the leadership of James E. Smith, Superintendent. This initiative was in answer to the ever-pressing need to provide the citizens of Texas with more effective and more cost-efficient mental health care. Consolidation of the two hospitals became official on September 1, 1998, under the temporary name Vernon-Wichita Falls State Hospital. Nine months later, the 76th Legislature formally renamed the organization North Texas State Hospital, retaining the location names – Vernon campus and Wichita Falls campus – to designate the individual sites.

The Vernon campus of North Texas State Hospital has a history of offering exceptional mental health care to the various groups of patients entrusted to its care and plans to continue to offer the best care available to the specialized populations of patients who are now in its charge. Throughout the years, it has maintained Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations accreditation as well as a reputation for “country care.” It has become nationally recognized as a benchmark in the forensic mental health care field.

History of North Texas State Hospital

After two and a half years of intensive planning and incremental consolidation, Vernon and Wichita Falls State Hospitals officially became a single mental health care organization on September 1, 1998…the state legislature formally renamed the “new” organization North Texas State Hospital (NTSH).

Today North Texas State Hospital operates two sites 55 miles apart in north Texas. The Vernon campus provides forensic services for the entire state of Texas and offers both a 284-bed Maximum Security Program for adults and a 78-bed Adolescent Forensic Program for dually diagnosed youth ages 13-17. The Wichita Falls campus provides general psychiatric inpatient services for child, adolescent, adult, and geriatric patients with a bed capacity of 330.

Together, the two campuses of the organization comprise the largest state hospital in Texas.

Last updated April 08, 2011″

If our loved one truly loves us, but they are abusive towards us…should we forgive them…and continue to stay with them even though they are hurting us…and emotionally destroying us?

Some folks, because of their raising and emotional stuff, have a hard time saying, “I love you.” or showing their love physically through hugs n’ rubs. Their kids, spouses, and other intimates sometimes develop issues because they are not demonstrative of their love. Their intimates question their love for them because they do not show it. They sometimes feel a void or emptiness because of the absence of verbal and physical manifestations of their love. This can create a great deal of frustration and tension in the relationship. So, just like WE have issues and shortcomings…we have to recognize these folks have their own issues and shortcomings…and the lack of verbal and physical acknowledgement of their love for us…happens to be one of their shortcomings. So, instead of continually questioning whether or not our loved ones love us…we ought to look at the Big Picture of their behavior towards us…how they prove their love in other ways…like the things they do for us and the way they treat us. I believe that love is an action…that when people love us, it is apparent in their behavior towards us.

But this brings up another point. Some people because of their upbringing and trauma experiences, may act in VERY unloving ways towards us. For instance, they may be physically or emotionally abusive. I believe that many of these folks actually love their people, but their emotional issues result in very unloving actions towards us and other loved ones. They act that way…not because they don’t love us…but because of Emotional Mind dynamics…and being abusive is their destructive coping behavior…they yell n’ scream and cuss n’ fuss and they may hit us. Their behavior is not a manifestation of love or lack thereof, but a manifestation of the ugly inside them…all the pain and anger and ugliness from their past. It’s like they “throw up” or vomit that ugliness on those closest to them. Why? Because they have all this toxic stuff inside them…and when they get “Big-Time in Emotional Mind,” the poison is bubbling up inside them…and they blow up…and this stuff blows out…and all over those around them. Why the family and those they love? Well, we are the safe objects…the safest place for the emotional tension to be released. Because we’re safe, we stay with them…and they can “get away with it.” They can explode on us and around us. Point…it’s not about their love for us, it’s about their emotional baggage…their past relationship experiences…their history of trauma…and how they learned to cope with negative emotions. That’s what makes abuse intergenerational. That’s how it gets passed on from one generation to the other. It’s about social learning, trauma, emotional pain and intensity, and destructive coping behaviors.

So, this brings up another point. If our loved one truly loves us, but they are abusive towards us…should we have mercy…forgive them…and continue to stay with them even though they are hurting us…and emotionally destroying us? Should we practice “love is an action” and stay with them? I believe we should protect ourselves and others and get out of the situation…because we’ll never be okay IN this toxic relationship…and if we have kids, we have a responsibility to protect our children and not allow them to be victimized…and exposed to poison. If we remain in the situation, we are just enabling the perpetrator to continue their destructive coping behavior and we are setting the stage for this destructiveness to pass through the generations…to our children and grandchildren. If we have been victimized and have emotional issues because of this, we need to get therapy for ourselves and the other victims to work through this so we are not living our lives…living this out. We have to do something to stop this destruction both in the here-and-now…and in the future. We have to stop the cycle. It will be healing to know though…that the one who hurt us…probably really loved us…but their emotional stuff got in the way of demonstrating that love in all ways. We ought to understand that what they did, had less to do with love…and much more to do with how they cope with pain and stress. They were desperate for relief in the moment, the emotional moment…and they did what “came natural” to them. They did what was “bred into them”…what their role models did…what they learned to do…and what gives them immediate relief in the moment. It’s like their drug of choice.

We all have some undesirable ways of releasing the pressure of the emotional moment. I believe we all enact destructive coping behaviors…some more so than others…and some of these destructive coping behaviors are more destructive than others. Some people are abusive to others and some are abusive to themselves. Some smoke, drink, drug, or overeat. Some over-shop, over-golf, over-work, over-play, over-Facebook…over-sex…etc. Others may withdraw, isolate, under-work, under-eat…etc. We’ve all got “stuff” and our challenge is to find healthy ways of releasing stress and pressure and dealing with our emotional issues and concerns. We’ve got to find Life-Enhancing coping mechanisms and to refuse to do our “preferred” or overlearned destructive coping behaviors.

Introducing the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook at the Houston Chapter of TAAP Spectrum 2011 Annual Conference

The Thirty-Eighth Annual Houston Chapter TAAP Conference on Addiction Studies
September 22 – 24, 2011

TAAP (Texas Association of Addiction Professionals)

Doubletree Hotel at Bush International Airport
15747 JFK Boulevard – Houston, Texas  77032

DBT-CBT for Co-Occurring Disorders and Destructive Coping Behaviors: A Workbook-Based Group Therapy Program Combining DBT, CBT, and AA Recovery Principles

This 1.5 CEU workshop will be presented by Melanie Gordon Sheets, Ph.D.

from 10:30 – 12:00 pm on Friday, Sept 23th, 2011.

This workshop will provide an introduction to the workbook based DBT-CBT recovery program, a modified DBT program for individuals with affective disorders, personality disorders, and destructive coping behaviors, such as substance abuse, self-injury, suicidal threats, verbal/physical aggression, eating disorders, overshopping, etc. Some key recovery concepts, skills, techniques, and understandings will be discussed and several program worksheets will be reviewed.

Training Objectives:

  • Participants will gain information about the structure of the DBT-CBT program, target populations, problems addressed, and utility in various treatment settings and by various providers including peer support specialists.    
  • Participants will understand the basic dynamics of Emotional Mind which drive emotional dyscontrol, relief-seeking destructive coping behaviors, and the Cycle of Suffering.
  • Participants will gain familiarity with the use of the Wise Mind Worksheet to work through destructive emotional states, thoughts, and impulses to facilitate constructive problem-solving and life-enhancing coping responses.
  • Participants will gain familiarity with the structure and use of a “Game Plan” (a client developed individualized recovery plan) including the use of Rational Mind and Wise Mind to challenge recovery sabotaging Emotional Mind “excuses” and Rational Mind “obstacles.”

Dr. Sheets is the Chief Psychologist at Big Spring State Hospital, the Co-Director of the Lone Star Psychology Residency Consortium internship program, a Clinical Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, and the author of the DBT-CBT “Out-of-Control” recovery workbook. She began her career as a mental health technician at Richardson Medical Center in 1985 helping individuals with agoraphobia, substance abuse, depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder. She earned a doctorate in clinical psychology in 1992 from Texas A&M University where her training emphasized psychoanalytic and Jungian psychotherapy methods. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Dallas VA Medical Center in the PTSD Clinic, the Substance Abuse Unit, and Inpatient Psychiatry units. She has conducted the DBT-CBT Group since 2004 for forensic, VA, and general psychiatric inpatients.

The full title of the therapy workbook is “Out-of-Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook For Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior (targeting drug / alcohol abuse, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, anger, cutting, and codependency recovery)”published by Recovery Works Publications (2009).

Dr. Sheets will be presenting on the DBT-CBT Workbook program at the North Texas State Hospital Forensic Conference in October, 2011.  Details will follow.  

(click here to visit the Houston Chapter website)

TAAP is a state affiliate of the national organization, “The Association for Addiction Professionals” (NAADAC), formerly known as the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors.   The name change reflects the increasing variety of addiction services professionals: counselors, administrators, social workers and others, who are active in counseling, prevention, intervention, treatment, education and research.

For more information about TAAP, visit their website at:  http://www.taap.org

For more information about NAADAC, visit their website at:
http://www.naadac.org


Track Your Emotional Level Using “The Levels of Emotion Chart” from the DBT-CBT Workbook (with Estimates of Emotional Mind and Rational Mind)

The Levels of Emotion Chart provides descriptions of how we FEEL and FUNCTION when we’re experiencing different levels of negative emotion. The levels range from 0-10. At Level 0, we are at peace. At Level 10, we are desperately overwhelmed with negative emotion. Notice the far right columns.  They show how active Emotional Mind and Rational Mind are at each level (this is just a guess though!) This chart helps to gauge or measure our emotional intensity and to better understand the effect our emotional levels have on our ability to participate effectively in our life.

Use the link below to check out the chart and to read the text from the workbook related to the chart.  I don’t know why, but you’ll go to a page view that doesn’t open the file…BUT, if you click the link again when you get to that page…it’ll come up like it’s supposed to!  

The Levels of Emotion Chart – from the DBT-CBT Therapy Workbook by Melanie Gordon Sheets, Ph.D.

Review the levels of emotion in the chart and answer the following questions.

What level are you currently at?

What has been you lowest and highest level today?

What is the level of your best functioning over the past week? the last month?

At what level were you at when “Something Happened” and you ended up having to go into treatment?

At what level should you seek help so you can prevent going into treatment?

Most group members believe we should call our support person, sponsor, counselor, or crisis worker at level 5 or 6. Knowing what they know now, they want to get help BEFORE things begin to get out-of-control. At levels 5 and 6, we still have a fair amount of Rational Mind going on. This helps us to seek support…and to accept the Rational Mind and Wise Mind understandings and suggestions offered to us!

The Dynamics of Emotional Mind and It’s Role in Driving Destructive Coping Behavior: When Emotional Mind Drives…We Wreck Out…and Our Lives Become a Total Wreck

The Dynamics of Emotional Mind - hand-out  092010b

View the pdf file for a readable image – click the link below

The Dynamics of Emotional Mind – DBT-CBT Conference Handout – 072411

This hand-out addresses the dynamics of Emotional Mind and its role in driving destructive emotion-driven coping behaviors (e.g., substance abuse, aggression, eating disorders, etc.)

The “Cycle of Suffering”- when we respond to emotional pain and life problems in destructive, emotion-driven ways, we end up with new problems and increasingly severe old problems…and we feel worse than before.  If we respond to this new level of pain and problems in destructive ways, our pain and problems will continue to intensify and multiply.  Because we’re not working through our pain or resolving our problems, our emotional baggage piles up.  The trauma from the past weighs us down in the present and intensifies present misery.  What could have been temporary pain and problems has turned into long-term pain and suffering.  The only way to get the cycle of suffering to stop…is to stop it.  We can stop our suffering by stopping our destructive coping behavior.  We must turn on Rational Mind to “think through before we do” and we must “follow through” with Wise Mind problem-solving and life-enhancing coping behaviors.

Based on:  “Out-of-Control:  A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior” copyright © 2010 by Melanie Gordon Sheets, Ph.D.   (www.dbt-cbt-workbook.com)