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#34334 - 01/10/03 04:48 PM radical acceptance??????
michaelb Offline
Member

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 211
Loc: cincinnati, ohio
Today my therapist told me i need to have "radical acceptance" of my abuse....she said it at the end of my session and i'm not sure of what she meant...Does anybody know about radical acceptance?????

Your help would be appreciated.

michael


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#34335 - 01/10/03 07:21 PM Re: radical acceptance??????
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Michael
I'm no expert - hopefully one of our resident experts might know the real answer ?

But maybe she's suggesting a complete shift in the way you perceive your role in what happened to you ?

Let me repeat that - "what happened to you"

So many of us think that it was someting "we did" - and it wasn't. They did.

We have NO GUILT about what happened.

And I am confident that you didn't have any say in what happened to you, your other post where you say you resisted abusing someone shows that you are a strong person, you're here and in therapy working on your recovery.
You have the strength to gain "radical acceptance" of yourself.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#34336 - 01/11/03 03:02 PM Re: radical acceptance??????
michaelb Offline
Member

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 211
Loc: cincinnati, ohio
BUT IT HAD TO BE MY FAULT......everything is my fault because of my magical thinking.....i feel guilt for not having aids, because i've never had gay sex but had the desires to.....i feel i should have died from aids by now, many days i feel like i deserve to die a terrible death like that.....i've had congestive heart failure at age 40 and triple bypass surgery last year and i think i'm getting what i deserve for being such a sick/evil person......

to be honest, i do not see myself surviving this ordeal.....i just wish i would have died three years ago when i was at death's door.....i was told i would have died within 12 hours had i not gone to urgent care....kind of like an emergency room without the hospital.....

wow, i'm rambling.....sorry......maybe you are right about critical acceptance, but i sure do not see that as being possible for myself.....guess time will tell......

michael


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#34337 - 01/11/03 04:36 PM Re: radical acceptance??????
andrew-almost52 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 243
Loc: canada
Michael, here is some stuff that talks a little about radical acceptance:

Head & Heart
Robin Boyd

DBT OPENS THE DOOR TO RECOVERY FOR MANY

Every once in a while somebody comes up with a fresh idea, an innovative way to tackle an old problem. And they do it simply by recycling old notions into a new and different configuration. In 1991, Seattle-based psychologist and student of Zen meditation, Dr. Marsha Linehan, did just that with a revolutionary new treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).

It sounds awfully dry and clinical but, in reality, it is a creative and eclectic approach to a heretofore intractable problem - that of finding an effective way to ease the suffering of people with the particular set of symptoms that constitute the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. According to the DSM IV, the diagnostic text of the mental health profession, BPD is "marked by instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects, and marked impulsivity."

One of the prominent features of BPD is severe emotional swings or dysregulation that can lead to suicide and other self-harming behaviors in a desperate attempt to stop emotional pain. As a result, the treatment of this disorder is fraught with crisis and tries the limited resources of therapists and the health care system.

Carla Kirsh, MEd, a therapist and director of the DBT program at Monadnock Family Services, knows firsthand the long and arduous journey of the person with BPD.

Kirsh says that many, but not all, people with BPD have a history of abuse as children. That, coupled with a suspected genetic sensitivity, and an environment that does not meet their needs, can produce the dynamics for developing the disorder. The diagnosis has been categorized as a personality disorder, as opposed to more physically-based conditions such as schizophrenia or major depression. Personality disorders are considered to be unchangeable, carved in psychic stone and unresponsive to medications, but in light of the success of Linehanís model, this categorization is being challenged.

For many years, the medical and mental health communities had a pejorative attitude toward the dysregulated patient. "It was taxing work and strained the system in many ways.

Marsha Linehanís work has changed that by creating a systemic approach to teaching and reinforcing the skills that regulate extreme emotion," says Kirsh.

Kirsh says that Linehan, in her search for effective interventions, tried any and all techniques known to the behavioral health field and added the ones that proved most useful to her bag of techniques.

The term, "dialectic" comes from the work of philosophers, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx, which holds that all things contain polarities and that, within those polarities, there exist points of synthesis or balance. Sometimes that balance is achieved by accepting the validity of two opposites simultaneously. For example, as Linehan tells her patients, "You have to change Ė and youíre perfect as you are," or "You are not responsible for your problems, but you are responsible for solving them."

"This attitude of radical acceptance is at the heart of DBT," says Kirsh. "Instead of criticizing the choices the client makes, the therapist accepts them while looking for opportunities to build skills and point out alternatives where different responses might be chosen in order to build a life worth living."

Radical acceptance is also a skill taught to the patient. By accepting things as they are, the focus is taken off the past and placed on the present and future. "It also encourages a non-judgmental attitude so the client does not get trapped by apportioning or assuming blame or guilt," Kirsh adds.

"It might be true that the patient was abused as a child. However, the abuse is over and cannot be changed. What can be changed is the patientís current responses, choices, attitudes and behaviors," Kirsh points out. "Radical acceptance does not mean approval; it is an acknowledgment of fact about which there can be emotion."

The therapy targets and addresses behaviors according to a hierarchy of needs. The first priority necessarily addresses self-harming or suicidal behaviors. If these are present, no other issues are addressed until a behavioral analysis is completed and strategies for future behaviors are identified, and a commitment to use these strategies is in place.

The next treatment priority focuses on therapy-interfering behavior such as missing appointments or acting in ways that reduce the therapistís ability to provide effective treatment.

"There can be therapy-interfering behavior on the part of the therapist as well," says Kirsh. "If the therapist is unable to truly attend to the client due to fatigue or illness or other distractions, the therapist has an obligation to address this as well."

Because people with BPD are often in crisis, therapy sessions in older treatment models were, by necessity, largely devoted to putting out one fire or another. This prevented the therapist and client from getting to the all-important work of skill-building in order to change the dysfunctional patterns. To remedy this, Linehan incorporates into treatment, skill-building classes which are separate from individual therapy. Clients work within a structured workbook format which covers a wide variety of cognitive, interpersonal and behavioral skills useful for regulating emotions, increasing individual tolerance to distress and ambiguity, building interpersonal skills and defusing potential crises.

The therapist then becomes a coach to the client, encouraging the client to tolerate stressful situations and interactions, and to appropriately use their new skills.

"An entire session might be devoted to analyzing a particular crisis, such as a self-harming incident. By reducing the event to its component parts, the therapist and client can identify points at which the crisis might have been averted and suggest alternate behaviors," explains Kirsh.

Another prominent feature of BPD is impulsivity. To address this, Linehan has incorporated mindfulness into the skills training to help clients learn to slow down their response time. Participants learn to observe a situation, describe it without judgment, act intuitively from a perspective that utilizes the combined wisdom of emotion and thought, to stay in the moment and to focus on what works. Linehan describes the state in which emotion and thought overlap as the "wise mind." It is a state of optimal functioning which both clients and therapists in DBT work to achieve.

The skills taught in DBT are easily transferable and can be used in a variety of settings. "Many therapists trained in DBT have found that the use of these skills outside the treatment setting has enhanced their personal and work lives," says Kirsh.

Lastly, Linehan has changed the therapeutic view of the disorder by creating a new set of assumptions about the person with BPD. According to Kirsh, many of these assumptions can be applicable to us all.

1. People are doing the best that they can.

People want to improve.

People need to do better, try harder; and be more motivated to change.

People may not have caused all of their own problems, but they have to solve them anyway.

The lives of suicidal, borderline people are unbearable as they are currently being lived.

People must learn new behaviors in all relevant contexts.

People cannot fail in DBT

Therapists treating people with Borderline Personality Disorder borderline need support.

The results speak for themselves. The State of New Hampshire is just one of a number of states across the nation who have incorporated DBT into their community mental health treatment programs. Across the board, mental health centers are reporting reduced hospitalizations, and a drastic reduction in time, energy and resources expended upon the treatment of BPD. And, of course, the best news of all is that people are getting better and resuming normal, functional lives.

...............................................

Michael, I came across this little poem that kind of sums things up too:

Radical Acceptance
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Radical Acceptance

Suffering is pain, plus non-acceptance of the pain
It comes from inability, refusal to accept
From clinging to the urge to get what's wanted for yourself
Refusing to acknowledge many things which have been kept.

Reality at present time is pushed away and lost
Then pain gets unsurmountable, impossible to bear
Transforms itself to suffering, which escalates in force
If only that reality was found, amidst despair

So suffering is like a cloud, distorting, misting, view
Reduction of the hurting, being unreachable, remote
Yet radical acceptance is a means unto the end...
That suffering, transforming into pain, you stay afloat

Imagine hating purple, it's the colour of your room
You'll never change that colour by refusal to accept
that purple is the colour of those walls you truly hate
You stay there, not repainting, yet so many times you've wept

See, life's like hitting baseballs from a pitching ball machine
You're asked to do your best, and no one asks much more of you
You stand your ground so firmly, won't accept they're coming out
Yet still they come regardless, there is nothing you can do

You will it, cry, you whimper, stamp your feet to no avail
Those balls just keep on coming over, over, in your face
You have some choices what to do, just stand there and get hit;
Do nothing, let the ball go by and strike at such a pace

Or stand there, taking swings at it, you may not always win
At least you make an effort, you accept things as they are.
Or life is like a game of cards, a player who plays well
Is not concerned what cards she gets, her hand just cannot mar

Her object is to play the cards, as well as possible
And as each hand is finished, take the next cards that are dealt
She lets go of the last one, focusing on what she has
So skillfully she plays each hand, remorse is rarely felt

If only it were simple, like a game of cards to play
But life has more uncertainties, appearing every day
A neverending challenge, to accept the trials you face
Just do the best you can each day, observing your own pace.

© Sharon K. 2001

Peace..Andrew


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#34338 - 01/11/03 04:41 PM Re: radical acceptance??????
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Michael my friend, you are still here! It's not for nothing, and it's not so that you can just spend the rest of your life wishing you weren't still here, and abusing yourself.

I apologize if that sounds harsh or blunt, Michael, but I hate to see a good man put himself down. And you are a good man.

You don't deserve evil & misery Michael. You deserve better. We all do. There is a better way.

Michael, I am no expert on this--except maybe at putting myself down, I can be pretty good at that myself. Good enuf to know that it's a lousy way to live, and that there is a better way. I'm working on following that better way for me.

You will too, Michael. You will survive this ordeal. You are a survivor.

Take care my friend--you deserve it!

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#34339 - 01/11/03 07:05 PM Re: radical acceptance??????
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Andrew
that is some good and interesting stuff, I currently doing a counselling course and this technique is someting I am going to look at some more.
I'm sure that teaching clients some techniques alongside the normal therapy can help a great deal in many instances.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#34340 - 01/11/03 07:14 PM Re: radical acceptance??????
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Michael
My 'magical thinking' was the phrase that ran through my mind almost constantly as I remembered and fantasized about my past " I know things they don't know, I do things they don't know"
This phrase, and what went with it, told me much the same kind of stuff as you describe. I now call it something different - "my old way of thinking"

I had to make huge concious efforts to rename the " I know ...." every time it surfaced.

When we first start recovery we struggle to call the 'sex we had as kids' abuse, we struggle to change what we call ourselves from victim to Survivor.

Calling things by their name is important, and more important is changing the name as we move on.

I hope your thoughts lose their magic very soon.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#34341 - 01/13/03 03:10 PM Re: radical acceptance??????
michaelb Offline
Member

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 211
Loc: cincinnati, ohio
andrew.....thank you so very much for the book reference and the poem was very touching....it made me cry......funny thing is, i actually own that book.....i'll look up the entire section later today, i bought it when i was diagnosed a couple of years ago....i read it and put it on the shelve, guess i need to keep it more handy......

It just seems hard to accept things without remembering them.....i've always been a "show me" type of guy......i'll only accept things i see or read......do not accept alot of what i read, especially in the bible.....i question/doubt almost everything in there....so to accept without proof seems impossible to me.......

i have felt like the perpetual victim for so many years, that i'm not sure i'll ever really be able to feel like a survivor.....is that really possible??????........not sure i deserve to feel like a survivor.........guess i just feel like i need to be punished ................

thank all of you so much for your support and insight.....

michael


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#34342 - 01/13/03 03:34 PM Re: radical acceptance??????
andrew-almost52 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 243
Loc: canada
Dear Michael, at some point in life & recovery, we have to take a leap of faith. This doesn't require faith in a Bible or God, just in oneself. Why do we take the leap? BECAUSE WE DESERVE ALL THE GOOD THINGS THAT COME ABOUT BECAUSE WE TOOK THE CHANCE. We have to accept what happened. Accept that it caused us pain. Know that without a doubt it was not our fault. Take stock of our strengths and leap forward. Will leaping cause us pain? Probably? The leap of faith will bring about change and change is always uncomfortable. But the end result will be something wonderful. My argument is that to not change, in the long term, is more uncomfortable. Peace, Andrew


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#34343 - 01/13/03 04:04 PM Re: radical acceptance??????
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Quote:
Dear Michael, at some point in life & recovery, we have to take a leap of faith. This doesn't require faith in a Bible or God, just in oneself.
Michael, IMHO Andrew is right. As true 12 step recovery programs emphasize, our Higher Power can be God, however or whatever each one understands Him/Her to be, it can be ourselves, it can be our recovery program or group itself, it can be our family or job, our favorite possession or hobby.

The important thing is that one's Higher Power is strong enuf to help us take that leap of faith, strong enuf to catch us when we leap, good enuf to take us somewhere worthwhile, good enuf to be worth jumping for in the first place.

For me, believing in myself is vital becuz I'm made by God in God's image and God's Spirit lives in me.

Quote:
Will leaping cause us pain? Probably? The leap of faith will bring about change and change is always uncomfortable. But the end result will be something wonderful. My argument is that to not change, in the long term, is more uncomfortable. Peace, Andrew
Yes the leap, or leaps, hurt. But I knew if I went on staying where I was at, an avalanche of trouble was going to bury me. So I had to jump & I did. I'm still doing some jumping. Or maybe it's climbing.

It's the nature of life that if living things don't grow, don't change, they don't survive, they die. Changing is part of surviving.

Who knows more about change than us survivors, and who knows how to survive changes any better?

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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