Finding meaning around the world

The cool thing about doing DBT skills groups is that there are lots of other people that are doing DBT skills groups all over the world. This week we have been turning out attention towards the finding Meaning from the IMPROVE skills. Since I’m not the only one teaching this material, I decided to tap into the bigger DBT community this week by asking how, exactly, do other people teach “finding meaning” in DBT skills groups?

Patti Hancock from Ottawa, Ontario sent me this response, and graciously gave me permission to post it on my blog:

“In my conversations with clients I always emphasize creating meaning as opposed to searching for meaning. Many people search for years and find little…..I like the subtle message that the word create implies…taking an active role in obtaining a meaningful life. I also emphasize that creating meaning in ones life takes work …. sometimes hard work!

I find the following helpful in supporting clients on their path to a meaningful life; generating discussion and work around their values, encouraging clients to connect with people they like, highlighting their accomplishments, talking about the importance building mastery and asking them to identify situations that gave them an “ah-ha” moment of insight….then discussing how feeling competent and doing things that give them a sense of accomplishment can bring meaning, and of how the situations associated with those “ah ha” moments were meaningful for them.

I encourage the joy of experiencing something…..(many of my clients are focused on meaning that they feel will come from “having” something) I encourage finding delight and appreciation in life’s little things.

Learning from others… I share my experiences of searching for meaning, and of my switch to creating a more meaningful life and encourage them to read biographies of people they like or are interested in.

I encourage risk taking- and get a commitment from clients to try at least one new experience daily.

Reflection- to help clients discover lessons from their setbacks and develop resilience to keep going…trying… creating!!”