DBT Video Text: Reality Acceptance Conclusion

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These are scripts from videos by Dialectical Behavioral Therapy creator Marsha Linehan describing DBT skills. You can purchase the videos from Behavioral Tech LLC.

Reality acceptance skills are the skills that you need when really painful events happen in your life. And you can’t change the painful event. You can’t solve it. You can’t make it go away. And, you can’t turn it into a positive. It’s a negative that just won’t become a positive. And you’re miserable.

When that happens, practice reality acceptance.

So what are you going to practice? First, you’re going to practice accepting radically. You’re going to want to accept that the event has actually happened. You’re going to need to accept that there’s a cause. It happened for some reason. You may not know what the reason is, but there is a reason. 

And, you’re going to want to accept that you can move through it. You can develop a life that has satisfaction, meaning and worth in it. Even with this painful event in your life. 

In order to do that, you’re going to have to turn your mind over and over and over. When you reach the fork in the road, with pain in the middle of it, turn your mind to acceptance. Away from rejection. 

And practice willingness. Practicing willingness means recognizing that you are part of life, that you are connected to things. But it’s more than that. It’s not just recognizing that you’re part of life but it’s actually agreeing to be part of life. 

These are the skills of reality acceptance. It sounds easy. Well, probably doesn’t sound easy, probably sounds hard. It is hard. It’s really hard.

All of us are still practicing this. This is not one of those things you’re going to get perfect at. There’s not going to be a day when you can say, ‘Alright, I’ve got it; I’ve got it. I can radically accept. I turn the mind all the time and I’m willing.’ That day is not going to come.

This is the only set of skills that I teach that I would have to say just about everybody has to practice just about every day of their lives. 

The way to practice these skills at the beginning when they’re really hard is to find small things to practice them on first. If you start trying to practice on the really big things, you’re not going to be able to do it. So find something small. Practice on that. 

The willfulness, notice it. You could start by counting it. Slowly try to replace it.

Radical acceptance, notice when you are not accepting. You could start with counting it. Slowly try to replace it. 

Turning the mind, write yourself a note. Put it somewhere in your house. Put it on the refrigerator. All you have to write is ‘Turn the Mind’. Put it up. Try to practice it. Practice it every time you open the refrigerator.

DBT Radical Acceptance: a sticky note pinned to a cork board

If you keep practicing these skills, they do get easier. It’s really the truth – they do. You’ll get better at it. Life will get easier. 

Alright, so those are the skills.

Radical acceptance – remember the word radical – complete, total, all the way.

Turning the mind over and over and over and over. 

And willingness – entering life with willingness.

Now, I know that these are really difficult skills. They, they’ve been difficult for me. They are difficult for everybody I know. And the facts of the matter are, every single person I know is practicing these skills. 

But I think if you practice them you’ll find over time, may take a while, maybe slower than you want, but I think you’re going to find them really helpful. The secret is, don’t reject them right away. Don’t reject them if you don’t feel better right away or somehow your life isn’t worth living right this minute. These skills take time to work. But, if you keep at it, I think they will work. 

So, I’d love to hear from you. I’d like to know, are they helpful? Or aren’t they? My email’s going to come up in this program in just a moment. I hope you’ll write it down. I hope you’ll send me an email and tell me what you think about the skills. 

Now, if you just so happen to know something that I haven’t talked about in this program, you think it might improve my program the next time I do one, I hope you’ll tell me that too. I’d love to hear from you.

Take care. Goodbye.

This text is the unofficial transcript of Behavioral Tech, LLC.
Chaos to Freedom Skills Training Video. Posted with permission from Behavioral Tech.
Transcribed by Sylvia James, May 15, 2006