Let me introduce you to the idea of utilizing music activities that have been specially created and chosen to teach, reinforce, practice, and enrich the learning of DBT's practical life skills in the areas of mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a cutting edge evidence based therapy model created by Dr. Marsha Linehan, that has been shown to be extremely effective. DBT skills aim to “change behavioral, emotional, thinking, and interpersonal patterns associated with problems in living”. (Linehan 2015)
Music Activities to Reinforce, Practice, and Enrich the Learning of Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills
"Music is so much more engaging for the adolescents, and when kids are engaged, that's half the battle for teaching them skills. Especially at a program like mine where group participation is expected as part of treatment."
Libby Aresenault, Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Group Leader, Mental Health Counselor at an inpatient DBT program, and non-musician
"My adolescent daughter was in a crisis last week and she wouldn't let me teach her any skills. She loves music, so I was thrilled to have this self-help program to give her."
Anonymous (parent who wishes not to be named)
"I've been providing adherent DBT for adolescents and adults for 13 years and am ready for some new ideas. I'm excited to learn music activities to complement my skills training groups!"
Angela Klein PhD, licensed clinical psychologist in the greater San Diego area
Who are these DBT informed music activities for?
Teen whos been through a lot? Love your music? These music activities and skills lessons are written in a self-help format especially for you.
Parents, feeling overwhelmed or stressed?You can enjoy these activities and lessons as well. Do them with your child and/or do them for yourself. The skills are beneficial to anyone's life and the activities are a good way to put the skills into practice.
Clients of any age. Therapists can pass these out as handouts for homework, to followup on skills you taught them, to provide continuity, to offer something upon discharge for practicing emplementation of skills.
Clinicians who work within the structure of DBT and want some new ideas to reinforce, practice, & enrich the learning of Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills and/or to have something engaging that your clients can use on their own in-between to practice and strengthen skills .
Music therapists who want quick grab and go DBT informed interventions you can modify for your work with clients in your practice, and a resource to refer clients to who want to continue their learning and practicing of the skills through music activities upon discharge. Earn CMTE credits with CBMT.
Here is an Example:
The “what” skills are meant to help you find your wise mind. The what skills are to –
Listen to several songs in a row on a radio station so you have a variety of songs. While listening to the music, write down what you observe about the music. What instrument sounds do you hear? Were there violins or guitars? Drums? Was it loud? Fast or slow? Notice what emotion the song evokes in you, and how that emotion feels in your body. Do you have any urges or impulses to act as a result of this song? What thoughts does it bring up? You can even draw to the music.
Write this down for 3 or 4 songs. (You can print out the handout below.)
A Skill you can take away from this:
In this activity you were mindfully focused on what you observed, (taking in information at the sensory level, without description or labels), including what you heard in the music, your thoughts, emotions, body sensations, and urges, and then you described what you observed by putting it into words and describing it on the paper. If you followed the instructions to completion then you participated.
The “what” skills are meant to help you find your wise mind. The way these skills work in a moment of distress is that through the act of mindfully observing what you notice in your surroundings, in your body, and in your mind, and in describing these observations, (your senses, thoughts, emotions, body sensations, and urges), you can step back from the urge to act immediately and instead make a wise choice in your behavior that is effective. You then participate in the present moment effectively and skillfully, doing what works.
Questions to ponder:
Have you ever had an experience of acting impulsively, without thinking about it and regretting it later?
The time to use this skill is then. Before you act, notice the urge to act and get into your wise mind. Ask yourself, “Is this a wise minded choice?” Then choose the wise action and participate mindfully.
How can you use this skill in your life?
What situations might come up during your week where using the “what” skills to find your wise mind may be helpful?
Roller Coaster Song
I’m going to give you an example of how I used this skill in my life with the Roller Coaster Song… (this is in the actual lesson)
Action Step for this Week
This week, practice observing, describing, and participating mindfully, (what to do to get to wise mind) starting out in everyday, low intensity moments. Over time, it will be become much easier to observe, describe, and participate in moments when your emotion intensity is much higher, and you can bring yourself to wise mind!
Music for DBT: Copyright 2017-2018 D. Spiegel All Rights Reserved
(When you purchase this program you are granted the right to make copies for your personal growth &/or professional use.)
*DBT Skills: DBT Skills Training Manual by Marsha M. Linehan (2015 Gilford Press)
Imagine, over the next year of experiencing the activities in this program, remembering and implementing skills in life, feeling a proud sense of mastery develop for all the wins day after day...using skills, reducing impulsive behaviors, regulating emotions, communicating masterfully, and being mindful and wise.
“Deborah will teach you a wealth of music activities you can use to liven up your DBT skills groups or other therapy groups (if you are a therapist) or to reinforce the skills you are learning in skills groups (if you are a DBT client). I also believe that a person who isn't involved in therapy but seeks personal growth could learn effective life skills by completing these activities. ”
Sally Bonkrude MA, LPC, MT-BC
Deborah Spiegel MT-BC
Deborah is a DBT informed Board Certified Music Therpist as well as CEO and director of The Spiegel Academy (Music Therapy Continuing Education).
Author of the bookMusic Activities & More for Teaching DBT Skills and Enhancing Any Therapy: Even for the Non-Musician(Authorhouse 2010 and soon to be published by Jessica Kingsley Publications with this new section that includes the skill by skill presentation of activities for each skill), Deborah is also a presenter of workshops on this topic nation wide. ->
Ms Spiegel received her DBT skills training from Behavioral Tech, through both live and online classes and with her treatment team while working in an inpatient DBT milieu at the Colorado Mental Health Institute. She served as the treatment team's music therapist as well as serving as a DBT skills group leader for almost 12 years. She found herself adding music to her skills groups and then again reinforcing the skills the patients learned during her music therapy groups.
Click on the image of the book for a free sample...
Since 2011 Ms Spiegel has been an approved provider with the Certification Board for Music Therapists, providing continuing education classes on a wide range of topics including DBT informed music therapy, for music therapists and allied health professionals.
Now, we are pleased to announce a program offering music activities to reinforce, practice and enrich the learning of DBT skills for professionals who work within the framework of DBT, and to provide a resource in a format that can be used to further skills acquisition and generalization by parents, teens, and adults.
Lauren Bonavitacola, Psy.D., MT-BC
Dr. Lauren Bonavitacola is is an intensively trained DBT licensed psychologist and board certified music therapist at Cognitive & Behavioral Consultants of Westchester & Manhattan. Dr. Bonavitacola is providing consultation for this project and book. She is also the supervising clinician for the DBT related classes offered to music therapists at The Spiegel Academy.
If you can think of someone else who could benefit from this click the share button to pass this on.