Category Archives: About the Workbook

The Two Versions of the DBT-CBT “Out-of-Control” Workbook by Melanie Gordon Sheets, Ph.D.

Folks are asking about the two versions of the workbook, the 2009 and the 2010 version.  They are nearly identical, so there is no need to purchase one of each.

One major difference is the title change.  The new title clarifies the struggles FOCUSED ON in the workbook.  Most certainly, the bulk of the material in the workbook focuses on the issues and struggles common to depression, anger, codependency, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder as the new title reflects.

The cover of the workbook lists a variety of common destructive coping behaviors, “emotion-driven coping behaviors.”  Some are frequently addressed in the workbook (revenge, suicide threats/attempts, aggression, saying hurtful things, overeating, and sleeping around) and some are not, like road rage, gambling, and anorexia.  Given these are all driven by an out-of-control Emotional Mind, the skills, attitudes, and understandings taught in the workbook apply just the same.  The new title was added to emphasize what the actual workbook text targets rather than what it applies to!

Some changes were made to the back cover (design and text) and some minor text changes were made.  If you are completing this workbook with a support group (or anyone else!), it doesn’t matter if members have different versions.  The text reads much the same and the pages are consistent across versions.

Honestly, I’d buy the earlier version if the price was a lot cheaper!  Otherwise, I’d go with the updated version.

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?

The DBT-CBT Workbook: Worksheets, Activities, Charts, Questions, Skill Builders, Tracking Sheets, and other Special Features

The Special Features of the DBT-CBT Out-of-Control Workbook

“Statements of Support and Encouragement” –  the first two pages have space for our support people to write statements of support and encouragement for our journey through the pathways of recovery.

“Table of Contents” – a detailed 7-page table of contents not only lists the chapter titles, but also the major topics or sections in each chapter.

“Introduction” – the book opens with a general introduction to the program.

“FAQs and More” – an opening section that answers several “frequently asked questions” about the program and workbook.

“An Overview of the Three Mind States” – a two-page chart describes Emotional Mind, Rational Mind, and Wise Mind so folks have a general idea of what these are before they begin reading the book.  In addition, various emotions are listed with examples of the types of emotional thoughts that go with them. Then, examples of how Rational Mind and Wise Mind might respond to these emotions and thoughts are listed.

“An Overview of the DBT-CBT Process and the Pathways of Recovery and Relapse” – a flowchart shows how we use Emotional Mind, Rational Mind, and Wise Mind to deal with difficult life events and emotions in a healthy, recovery-based way.  The chart also shows what happens when we act on our emotions without using Rational Mind or Wise Mind. A written description of this process is also provided. This also serves as a very good overview of the DBT-CBT program.

“How Bad Do I Really Want Recovery?” – an introductory worksheet to help us gauge our readiness for recovery…before we get started with the workbook.

There are 14 chapters in this workbook:

The Nature of the Problem

The Big Picture of My Life

The Pathways of Recovery

Mindfully Protecting My Peace and Stability

Mindfulness Is a Skill

Emotional Mind

Rational Mind

Challenging Negative Judgments of Me

Wise Mind

The Wise Mind Worksheet

Distress Tolerance

Acceptance

Life-Enhancing Coping Skills

The Game Plan

“Rest Stops” – the 14 chapters are divided into three sections.  After each section is a “Rest Stop” which provides a summary of each chapter in the section, “Where We’ve Been…What Ground We’ve Covered.” The Rest Stops also tell us “Where Do We Go from Here” or what we are getting ready to cover in the next section or sections.

“Applications” – the “general knowledge” information presented in the workbook is applied to situations that are familiar to us. The information is applied to Real Life…and often it’s our life that it’s applied to or the lives of people we know.

“Skill Builders” – these are activities and worksheets that help us to practice and apply the skills and concepts we’re learning.  Several are highly therapeutic and will lead us to major insight, self-understanding, and change.

Workbook Questions – the pages of the workbook are FILLED with “workbook” type questions. These help us to process the material and apply it to our life. “Answers” or comments can be found in the text following most questions.

“Chapter Reviews” – each chapter ends with a set of questions about the material and space for writing responses to these questions.

“For Reflection” – at the end of each chapter is a lined space to “journal” or write.  We’re encouraged to write about whatever comes to mind or heart.  Some ideas for what to write are listed in the margin…such as how the material relates to our life, how it affects us, motivates us, what we have learned, major insights, etc.

“The Concepts and Skills Tracking Sheets” – worksheets at the end of each chapter which list the major concepts, principles, understandings, and skills presented in the chapter. They are a tool to help us learn, practice, and apply the skills and information in each chapter. They help us to remember what we’ve read and they offer a way to TRACK our practice and Real Life use of the recovery skills and understandings.

Margin Text – the left side of each page has a 1-1/2 inch margin that provides the following information and features:

Definitions – easy to understand definitions of words used in the text.

“Phonetic” or “Sound-Out” Spellings – spellings of less common or hard to pronounce words.

“Footnote Style Numbering” – the margin items listed above are numbered and the section in the text that they go with are numbered (footnote style).  This is so we know how the margin information connects to the text…to know when it should be read.

Quotes and Sayings – the margins are also used for quotes and sayings that relate to the text.

“A List of Negative Emotions” – a fairly long list of unpleasant, upsetting emotions.  Similar types of emotions are grouped together.  This helps us to be aware of the emotions we experience and it gives us words to describe our feelings.

“Turning Point Worksheets” – listed below are SOME of the worksheets that have had the greatest impact on Group Members.

“The Cycle of Suffering in My Life Worksheet” – helps us to understand how the problems we’re having in life are greatly worsened by how we are trying to cope with them. It shows that the things we’re doing to try to feel better in-the-moment end up causing us long-term pain and suffering.

“The Big Picture of My Life Worksheet” – helps us to recognize the many things that bring meaning and satisfaction to life…and what happens to these things when we respond to life in self-destructive Emotion-Driven ways.  It helps us to understand the consequences of Emotion-Driven Behavior.  The worksheet provides many insights that help our Rational Mind to rationally challenge many Emotional Mind “desires.”

“The Mindfully Protecting My Peace and Stability Worksheet” – helps us to understand the number of stressors, pressures, demands, and difficult things “Coming Our Way” and the importance of being mindful of these things, maintaining boundaries, prioritizing, and coming up with a Game Plan for managing what’s “Coming at Us.” The purpose is to protect our peace and stability and the quality of our life…to minimize Emotional Mind flare-ups and crises and relapse into self-destructive coping behavior.

“The Challenging Negative Judgments of Me Worksheet” – provides us a structured way to rationally challenge the abusive, hurtful, destructive statements made about us. Members are often shocked at the results of this worksheet because it shows or “proves” how much of a lie those statements were…and how irritational we are to continue to believe.

“The Well Analogy Worksheet” – helps us to talk our way through an Emotional Mind crisis or situation…to go from impulsive coping responses to a Wise Mind response.

“The Wise Mind Worksheet” – walks us through the use of the three mind states so we can come up with a Wise Mind plan for dealing with a major issue or problem.

“The Game Plan” – this worksheet is for the development of a personalized recovery plan. The principles, concepts, skills, and understandings gained throughout this workbook are used to develop this recovery plan. The use of Rational Mind and Wise Mind are built into the plan as is a respect for our Emotional Mind issues and dynamics and who we are and how we are as a person.

“Step-by-Step Instructions” – detailed instructions are provided for the completion of the worksheets and tracking sheets.

“Samples of Completed Worksheets” – one or more completed samples are provided for each worksheet. These aid in understanding how to complete the worksheets. Oftentimes, seeing how a worksheet is done helps to better understand how to complete it!  Many of the completed samples are used for discussion in the workbook, too.

“Real Life Stories” – four stories that describe the life events and situations common to a recovery population are shared. Many Group Members feel as if these stories were written about them…sparing some details.

“Out-of-Control:  A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior” by Melanie Gordon Sheets, Ph.D.  –  Copyright 2009  Recovery Works Publications



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The DBT-CBT Recovery Workbook Focuses On Self-Destructive Behaviors

DBT-CBT is a life-changing recovery program that inspires people
to make the life changes that will change their lives.
This program has turned many defeated hearts into empowered spirits
that are psychologically prepared to take on the challenges of
GETTING ON  and STAYING ON the Recovery Path.

Come join us in our journey.

This is a workbook for recovery from a variety of Self-Destructive Coping Behaviors. The philosophy of DBT-CBT is that “Many of our “abnormal” behaviors are normal given our experiences. They once served as survival skills.  However, their period of usefulness is long over.  We’ve overused these coping behaviors…and now, they’re causing us great pain and they’re destroying our lives.”

This workbook explains why we do the things we do…and why we keep doing these things even though they cause us more pain and problems.  It’s about what we do in the heat-of-the-moment…the emotional moment.  It’s about what happens when EMOTIONAL MIND drives and RATIONAL MIND takes a backseat…and WISE MIND is left on the side of the road.

When we’re filled with upsetting emotions, we often do things for quick relief…like drugs and alcohol; suicide attempts; cutting and other forms of self-mutilation; aggression; temper tantrums; walking off and leaving the situation; withdrawal; overeating or not eating enough; overshopping; “sleeping around”; rebound relationships; gambling; and other risky and reckless behaviors. The Nature of the Problem is…the things we do to feel better end up multiplying and intensifying our problems. Our Destructive Coping Behaviors help us to cope in the Heat-of-the-Moment…but, they have many negative consequences. They make our current problems more severe…and they CREATE many new problems for us to struggle with.   Over time, our lives spiral OUT-OF-CONTROL and into a CYCLE OF SUFFERING.

This workbook provides useful tools, attitudes, and plans for changing how we respond to life.  Our goal is to GET CONTROL of our OUT-OF-CONTROL emotions, behaviors, and thinking. We do this by PARTICIPATING EFFECTIVELY in our lives and by using LIFE-ENHANCING COPING MECHANISMS to deal with our pain and problems.  Our goal is to MINDFULLY PROTECT OUR PEACE AND STABILITY and the BIG PICTURE OF OUR LIFE.  Our goal is to STOP the CYCLE OF SUFFERING.

Six Major Problem Areas Addressed by the DBT-CBT Recovery Program

DBT-CBT Addresses Six Major Problem Areas

These six areas are listed below.  Examples of the types of problems
we might have in each area are also noted.

This workbook is designed to meet the needs of people who suffer
from problems in SOME or ALL of the six areas.


1. RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS

Conflict-Filled or Stormy Relationships   •   Abusive Relationships
Relationship Disappointments or Frequent Ups and Downs
Unfulfilling Relationships   •   Short-Term Relations
Love – Hate Relationships   •   Few or No Close Relations
Fear of Rejection  /  Actual Rejection  /  People Have Pulled Away
Co-Dependency  /  Dependency   •   Attention-Seeking Behavior
Fear of Abandonment  /  Actual Abandonment   •   Mistrust
Mad at Everyone   •   Loneliness  /  Can’t Tolerate Being Alone
Shyness  /  Fear  /   Major Discomfort in Social Situations

2. MOOD SWINGS – DEPRESSION – ANXIETY – ANGER

Moodiness  /  Major Mood Swings   •   Easily Angered   •   Rage
Guilt / Shame   •   Being a “High Drama” Person
Unbearable  /  Intense Emotions   •   Anxiety  /  Panic
Depression  /  Helplessness  /  Hopelessness  /  Worthlessness
Believe Things Won’t Get Better  /  Want to Give Up
Feel Out-of-Control  /  Overwhelmed  /  Suicidal

3. UNHEALTHY THINKING

Worrying  /  Overthinking  /  “Stewing” over Things
Dwelling on the Past   •   Preoccupied with Revenge
Pessimistic Thinking  /  Negative Expectations   •   Irrational Beliefs
Catastrophizing  /  Blowing Things Out of Proportion
Black and White  /  All-or-None Thinking
Putting Ourselves Down  /  Focusing on Our Worst Qualities

4. UNHEALTHY COPING BEHAVIORS

Please see the “List of Common Self-Destructive Coping Behaviors” above.

5. OTHER IMPULSIVE BEHAVIORS – BAD CHOICES

Doing Things on a Whim  /  Making “Snap Judgments”
Not Thinking Things Through and Having Negative Consequences as a Result

6. QUALITY OF LIFE PROBLEMS

Burnt-Out  /  Life Is a Chore   •   Nothing to Live For
Emptiness  /  Meaninglessness  /  Boredom
More Problems Than I Can Bear   •   Must Start Over
Financial Problems  /  Bankruptcy
Job Loss  /  Can’t Keep a Job Loss of Career or Professional License
Demotion  /  Probation at Work
Loss of Relationships   •    Family Pulled Away   •   Can’t See Children
Loss of Trust From Others   •   Reputation Damaged
Loss of Self-Respect and Integrity   •   Loss of Self-Confidence
Problems Getting an Education  /  Not Completing Semesters
Underachievement • Loss of Housing   •   Loss of Transportation
Loss of Possessions • Loss of Pets   •   Loss of Freedom
Legal Problems  /  Probation or Imprisonment
Health Problems  /  New Medical Diagnosis

This list is an excerpt from the DBT-CBT Therapy Workbook – “Out-of-Control:  A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior”  by Melanie Gordon Sheets, Ph.D.  – 2009 – Recovery Works Publications

A List of Common Self-Destructive Coping Behaviors

“A List of Common Self-Destructive Coping Behaviors”

Avoidance Strategies

Denial  •  Oversleeping  •  Procrastination  •  Stuffing Our Emotions

Walking Off – Leaving   •   Withdrawal – Isolation

Flight into Activity (staying too busy to think about our troubles)

Eating Disorders

Anorexia   •    Bulimia    •   Overeating   •   Comfort Eating

Passive-Aggressive Behavior

“Harmless” Jokes   •   “Forgetting” (forgetting on purpose!)

“Accidents” (accidently doing something on purpose!)  •  Sarcasm

Procrastination   •    Talking Behind Someone’s Back    •     Gossiping

Physical Aggression

Towards People, Animals, and Property

Self-Harmful Behavior

Suicide Attempts – Gestures

Self-Mutilation (cutting, burning, scratching, hair pulling,

and other forms of self-inflicted body damage).

Substance Abuse / Dependence / Self-Medicating

Alcohol   •    Illegal Drugs    • Prescription Drugs

Over-the-Counter Drugs

Vengeful Acts

Taking Revenge (getting even…or ahead!)

Verbal Aggression

Saying Hurtful Things to Others   •   Hostile – Threatening Remarks

Screaming Fits – Temper Tantrums • Threats to Harm/ Kill Ourself

Telling People Off    •   Bluntness – Speaking Our Mind

Other

Gambling    •    Habitual Lying    •   Codependency – Enabling

Rebound Relationships    •    Promiscuity (sleeping around) – Affairs

Overshopping   •   Being the Drama King or Queen

Getting Involved in Other People’s Problems

Criminal Acts (stealing, property damage, setting fires, etc.)

High Risk – Reckless Behavior (driving too fast, “playing chicken,”

road rage, “taking chances for the fun of it,” etc.)

How many of these things do you do?

Most of us do MANY of these things…and we end up with a lot more problems to deal with!

This list is excerpted from the DBT-CBT “Out-of-Control” Therapy Workbook by Melanie Gordon Sheets, Ph.D.

DBT is Dialectical Behavior Therapy  and  CBT is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

Pride vs. Humility…You Must Be So Proud of Yourself

I’ve had to ponder an awkward moment recently.  A lady I know from the Youth Horseman Club my family belongs to asked me if I had finished my book yet.  I told her I had and she asked if I had  copy she could look at.  I gave her a copy and a few hours later, she came up to me and excitedly said, “You must be so proud of yourself.”  It was an awkward moment because I didn’t respond.  I began thinking about that.  Unless I’m really anxious, I’m not one to just blurt out an impulsive response.  The moment passed and probably due to the awkward nature of my silence, she went on to something else.  Because I don’t know her so well, it bothered me as I processed the day later.  “What did she think?  It was so unnatural.”  I pondered it of course…and I’m stunned that I don’t feel proud.  I SHOULD BE so proud of myself.  I SHOULD be walking around “with the Big-Head” for awhile.  But, I didn’t feel PROUD…and I still don’t!

Rather than feeling proud, I feel like I have accomplished something. I worked my butt off, I labored….I put in THOUSANDS of hours. I worked hard, so I accomplished something. For some reason, that doesn’t equate to feeling proud of myself. I earned it, it didn’t come easy…I accomplished something. I put in the hours, I got something done.  I feel “even”…not proud.

I also feel like it was in the realm of something I could do, that I had skills for…so it was an expected outcome…

The other thing I thought about is that I strongly dislike people who are “so proud of themselves.”  Their pride is usually ugly…it often involves devaluing others. They feel superior to others…I don’t feel superior to others…I feel like I worked my tail off and I got something done. If everyone worked their tail off, they’d get something done. It’s not a matter of being superior to others…it’s a matter of being focused and dogged determined to get something done.

I also think about this project as being God-driven…and many times, I experienced it to be a “not me” experience…a “where did that come from” experience. Sometimes, I’d finish writing a section and fall back in my chair…and I’d say, “God, that was good.” Then, recognizing what had just happened, my next thought was usually, “God…that was good! That was awesome! That was really great! Thank you, God.” I had the moment of realization that what just went through my head and onto the computer screen…DID NOT originate in MY head! I recognized who authored the passage! In case I lost you here, I recognized that God wrote the really great parts of the book, not me. So, I don’t feel proud…I just feel like I put in the labor…that I worked hard!

The other thing I think about…is that God wants me humble. He wants me to love and respect his people…not to put myself on a pedestal…and to consider other people less than me. I think God gave me these types of skills, and these types of experiences, to equip me to do this…and when I accomplish this…that means I have accomplished something that was set out for me to do. It was expected. I don’t feel proud… I feel like I accomplished something I was supposed to do.

Now that I’m finished with the task…God is giving me some rest! I don’t feel driven, I don’t feel pressured, I feel relieved.

People ask me if I’m going to write another one. Though I can’t imagine ever being driven enough or crazy enough to do something like this again…I know it’s down the road for me. “When?” they ask…”When God lays the pressure on me again…and the only peace I get…is by working my tail off.” I’ve told people before that I feel like I was born to work…but at least I get some periods of rest now and then!

Copyright Statement: Material contained within this blog is copyrighted protected with all rights reserved © Melanie Gordon Sheets commencing in 2009 and through the present age. Please request permission to quote or otherwise use material obtained from this blog by emailing: service@dbt-cbt-workbook.com

Please visit the website www.dbt-cbt-workbook.com for more information about the DBT-CBT Workbook – full title “Out-of-Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior.