Finding Balance: DBT Wise Mind for Substance Abuse

Laura-Petracek2

Private Practice

Key Points

  1. Wise mind is a key concept in DBT. It is a balance between emotional and rational thinking, helping clients move away from reactive emotion mind and rigid logic mind toward an integrated wise mind state.
  2. Wise mind involves identifying the current state of mind, and using both emotions and rationality to respond effectively to situations.
  3. DBT offers practical skills, such as urge surfing, or ride the wave, to manage cravings and urges.
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A Helpful Confluence

An essential concept in DBT is wise mind, a balance between the emotional mind and the rational mind. If you recall the Star Trek character Spock, he epitomized rational mind. He often said things like, “That’s illogical.” Captain Kirk, however, was emotional.

In DBT, the objective is to guide the client toward wise mind, the state between, prompting them to identify which mind they’re presently in. Michael, like most clients, was usually in emotion mind.

Emotion mind is highly reactive, usually characterized by negative thinking, and is labile: fluctuating, unsteady. In contrast, rational or logic mind is rigid and intellectual, disregarding feelings, as with Jack Friday’s Dragnet catchphrase, ”Just the facts, ma’am.”

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