Question: Is Spirituality A Major Component Of Your Work – Response: The Role Of Spirituality In The Development Of The DBT-CBT Therapy Workbook

Spirituality IS a major component of my work because it is a major part of who I am as a person and a major driving force for how I live my life.  The DBT-CBT recovery workbook that I wrote was initially written as a Christian DBT-CBT workbook; however, due to the biblical focus, I was not able to use it in the therapy group I conduct at the state hospital.   At the hospital, I was using packets of information (handouts) that summarized the major DBT-CBT concepts without spiritual references.  The patients continually asked for more information to study outside of group, to work on at home when discharged, and to share with their families…while all my time and energy was being spent on developing the Christian workbook.   The pressure mounted and I felt I had to leave the Christian project and develop a secular workbook for use with my patients.  Believe it or not, I feel God blessed that endeavor and guided the writing of the secular workbook.

Here’s the brief story.  While working on the Christian workbook, I became pregnant at the ripe age of 43 and naturally lost the energy and focus on the workbook.  I ended up losing the baby and did not immediately resume work on the workbook after physically recovering.  Within months, the internal (and external) pressure to write a workbook for patient use was mounting and by the following January, I was absolutely tormented by it…I had no peace.  I was so burdened by my lack of focus on the workbook that I had to complete a Wise Mind Worksheet to deal with it!  Of course, the end result was to set a date to re-engage in the writing process, but to abandon the Christian workbook to focus on a secular one.  I finally said, “Okay God, I’ll do it…I’ll start on January…” and I specified the date.

Amazingly, at that moment of submission of my will, I lost that pressure…that tormenting burden…and I finally felt “at peace.”  Oddly enough, as I write this now, I realize the date set  was the time period when the baby was due…towards the end of January that year…pretty cool synchronicity!

When the agreed upon start date came, I got back into the workbook as I agreed to do.  I took out all the biblical references and began writing it for a secular audience.  I remained insanely focused on the project for the following 23 months…until I “got ‘er done!”  That was 23 months of near “24-7” focus on the workbook during non-hospital job waking hours!  Everywhere I went, the workbook went…kid sport practices, rodeos, traveling even 45 miles from home, “vacations,” and even to Six Flags!  I said it was an “insane” focus!

Once the book was in print, I’d flip through it…and would be stunned at the amount of work and time that went into it.  It is astounding.  I’ve often said of myself that “I was born to work” and I’ve recently decided that my degree of task energy and persistence is a God given quality…because it is soooo unnatural…and if I had it my way, I’d play and entertain myself instead!  I whole-heartedly believe that God is the driving force that has enabled me the capacity to pull off the projects I have pulled off in my life!  Without the hand of God in my life, I really don’t think I would have made it through all the life experiences I have been through…the good ones and the bad ones.

All in all, spirituality is a major driving force in my life…something that defines my life…and thus flows into all aspects of my work…and not just in the form of “works”…but also in how I choose to interact with the people that are a part of my life…including the patients I serve!

What about you?  How does your spirituality affect your work?

5 responses to “Question: Is Spirituality A Major Component Of Your Work – Response: The Role Of Spirituality In The Development Of The DBT-CBT Therapy Workbook

  1. I am looking for a workbook. where can i find this one, i would like to view it before i buy it. i am a christian, is there anyway you have a list of th scriptures you had to take out? I am finding it very hard to find a dbt workbook, w/ worksheets, without the “eastern mindset”

    • Hi Pam, I emailed you the other day about your question. Did you get it? The workbook is listed on Amazon, Ebay, Alibris, Barnes and Nobles online, Borders online, and various other online book stores. This one is a modified DBT workbook, heavy on CBT, and also includes quite a bit of AA 12-step wisdom which certainly brings a spiritual component. Order it, if you hate it, holler at me and can arrange a return.

  2. Michelle Comeaux

    I would also really appreciate any Christian content handouts/bible verses to help reconcile DBT treatment to my faith which has, to me, an uncomfortable Eastern spirituality element to it. I would really like a Christian version of a DBT workbook.

    • I so need to get the book written. I keep thinking I’ll do it when I retire in about 4 years…and then, I start feeling the pressure from God to get ‘er done. But, not the horribly intense pressure I felt when i pulled off the writing of the current DBT-CBT Workbook when I had a late life pregnancy, lost the baby, and then just couldn’t get back in the swing of overworking! Maybe I don’t HAVE TO right now…but it does keep coming across my plate as a to-do! You oughta get a copy of this workbook, start reading it with scripture in mind…and you’ll be surprised at how the suffering of severe addictions and the wisdom of recovery parallels scripture. Given the three mind states, Emotional Mind, Rational Mind, and Wise Mind, are the foundation of this workbook…consider negative Emotional Mind to be “of the devil” (temptations to engage in behavior that is destructive to us, to our people, and society in general…and something that kills our spirit and hope. Think of destructive Emotion-Driven Thoughts to be lies…ideas to deceive us and to destroy ourselves and others). Consider Rational Mind to be Truth….to be the true reality, the ways things really are…can think of scriptures too…proverbs and other wisdom of the Bible. Think of Wise Mind to be the instructive wisdom of the Holy Spirit…our gut wisdom…and our knowing what is good and helpful…and that quiet voice that often speaks to us…and urges us not to do things…and encourages us to respond in a life-enhancing manner. If you do so….PLEASE get in touch with me…and let me know how it’s going. I do know that someday I will write this as a Christian self-help type Bible study…when the pressure builds…and I have no choice. Please don’t pray for that to happen…now’s not a good time!!!!

  3. Just came across your blog site; Providential.

    My husband and I – both psychiatric nurses, are passionate bout DBT and all the implications for a variety of emotional states and emotionally driven behaviors that plague us all. My husband, a former Evangelical Free pastor, and I have recently worked with adolescents with cutting behaviors using DBT. This experienced has launched a desire to go into private practice offering DBT skills coaching for individuas and families.

    We sense and see an open door in the Christian community. Many of our adolescent patients came from christian homes – there was a real “moral distress” in addition to the emotional distress that typically accompanied families faced with such struggles. The idea their cutting child’s behavior was “wrong” ; that it meant parents were “bad” were judgments that were tough to relinquish; for ourselves as clinicians it required an attentiveness to spiritual formation with an appreciation of a dual journey: the emotional one in tandem with the spiritual one.

    Could we email you privately? We have some discussion points we would like to talk with you about.

    Meanwhile, I am going to order your workbook*

    Psalm 46:10


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