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The DBT Skill: Pros and Cons – Balancing Decisions

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I want to tell you about a game-changer in decision-making: the DBT Pros and Cons skill. It’s not just another self-help gimmick; it’s a legit tool that can help you navigate life’s toughest choices. And trust me, I’ve had my fair share of those!

Picture this: you’re at a crossroads, torn between two paths. Your mind’s racing, your heart’s pounding, and you feel like you’re about to make the biggest mistake of your life. Sound familiar? That’s where The DBT Skill: Pros and Cons comes in.

It’s like having a wise old mentor who helps you see the bigger picture. By weighing the good and the bad, you can make decisions with confidence and clarity. No more second-guessing yourself or living with regret. Ready to give it a try?

What Is the DBT Skill “Pros and Cons”?

The DBT skill “Pros and Cons” is a powerful tool for making decisions, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed or in crisis. It’s a way to step back, take a breath, and really weigh out the potential positive and negative consequences of a choice before taking action.

The Goal of Using the Pros and Cons Skill In DBT

The goal of using the Pros and Cons skill in DBT is to help you make more balanced, rational decisions rather than just reacting impulsively based on intense emotions in the moment. It teaches you to consider both the short-term and long-term implications of your choices. By listing out the pros and cons, you’re able to see the bigger picture more clearly. This DBT skill helps you move from a place of emotional reactivity to a more grounded, wise mind perspective where you can factor in both your rational thoughts and your feelings. Ultimately, the Pros and Cons skill empowers you to make decisions that align with your values and goals, even in challenging situations. It’s a tool for practicing mindfulness and gaining more control over impulsive behaviors that might make things worse in the long run.

How to Use the Pros and Cons Skill

Using the Pros and Cons skill is fairly straightforward, but it does take practice to remember to use it in the heat of the moment. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

Simple Guide for PROS & CONS Skill

  1. When you’re facing a decision or feeling an urge to do something, pause and take a few deep breaths.
  2. Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle to make two columns. Label one column “Pros” and the other “Cons.”
  3. In the Pros column, list out all the potential positive consequences of the action you’re considering. Think about the benefits or what needs it might meet.
  4. In the Cons column, write down all the possible negative consequences or drawbacks. Consider any risks or ways it might make things harder.
  5. Look at your list objectively and weigh the pros against the cons. What do you notice?
  6. Based on your evaluation, make a wise mind decision about the best course of action. Remember, sometimes NOT acting on an urge is the most effective choice.

The key is to be thorough and honest in your pros and cons list. Really challenge yourself to look at the decision from all angles before you act. With practice, this skill will start to feel more natural and you’ll get better at quickly assessing situations.

Benefits of Using Pros and Cons in DBT

There are so many potential benefits to using the Pros and Cons skill regularly as part of your DBT practice. Here are just a few of the ways it can improve your wellbeing and relationships:

Increased Mindfulness

By pausing to reflect before acting, you’re practicing mindfulness – one of the core DBT skills. You’re getting in the habit of observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment and then responding intentionally rather than reacting on auto-pilot. This increased awareness can help you start to notice patterns in your behavior and identify triggers. Over time, you may find that your urges and emotions feel less overwhelming because you have a reliable tool to work through them. The Pros and Cons skill can be incredibly helpful in navigating conflict and maintaining healthy relationships. When you’re able to slow down and consider multiple perspectives, you’re less likely to say or do something impulsively that you might regret later. By weighing out the pros and cons before engaging with others, you give yourself space to consider their needs and feelings too. This can lead to more effective communication and problem-solving in your relationships.

Better Emotional Regulation

One of the main goals of DBT is to help people build a toolkit of skills for managing intense emotions in a healthy way. The Pros and Cons skill is one of those essential tools for regulating your feelings and reducing vulnerability to mood-dependent behavior. When you’re dysregulated, it’s hard to think clearly and make wise choices. By practicing Pros and Cons regularly, even when you’re not in crisis, you’re strengthening your ability to cope with difficult emotions and tolerate distress more effectively. Distress tolerance is another core DBT skill that goes hand-in-hand with Pros and Cons. When you’re able to step back and realistically evaluate the risks and benefits of a situation, you’re building your capacity to sit with discomfort rather than frantically trying to escape it. Using Pros and Cons helps you widen your perspective and see that even though something feels unbearable in the moment, you do have the strength to get through it. With practice, you start to trust your ability to make it through challenges without making things worse.

Ability to Handle Crises

We all face crises sometimes, whether it’s an external situation or an internal emotional storm. In those moments of intense stress and overwhelm, it’s easy to fall back on old coping mechanisms that ultimately make us feel worse. But if you’ve been practicing the Pros and Cons skill regularly, you’ll be better equipped to handle those crises effectively. You’ll have the muscle memory of pausing, assessing the situation objectively, and making a conscious choice to help yourself rather than acting self-destructively.

Potential Drawbacks of the Pros and Cons Skill

While the Pros and Cons skill has many potential benefits, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s not always easy to use in the moment, especially when you’re first starting out. Here are a few potential drawbacks to be aware of: In the beginning, using Pros and Cons might feel like it takes a lot of time and effort. When you’re in the midst of an emotional crisis or feeling a strong urge to act, it can be really hard to slow down and go through the steps of evaluating the situation. It’s important to remember that like any new skill, it will get easier with practice. The more you use Pros and Cons, the more natural it will start to feel and the quicker you’ll be able to do it. Think of it as an investment in your long-term wellbeing.

Requires Group Work

While you can certainly practice the Pros and Cons skill on your own, DBT is typically done in a group therapy format. For some people, the idea of sharing vulnerable thoughts and feelings with others can be intimidating or uncomfortable. However, the group aspect of DBT is actually one of its strengths. By practicing skills like Pros and Cons with others who are working on similar goals, you get to benefit from multiple perspectives and a built-in support system. The group becomes a safe space to take risks and get feedback. DBT is not a passive therapy where you just show up and listen. It requires active engagement and a willingness to try new things, even when it feels awkward or challenging. The Pros and Cons skill is no exception – it only works if you actually use it. For some people, the idea of homework and practicing skills outside of therapy can feel like a lot of pressure. It’s important to approach it with self-compassion and remember that progress is more important than perfection. Every effort counts.

Not Appropriate for All Mental Health Conditions

While DBT can be helpful for a wide range of mental health concerns, it was originally developed specifically for people with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It may not be the best fit for everyone. If you’re dealing with severe depression, psychosis, or other conditions that make it hard to engage in therapy, DBT might not be the right choice for you at this time. It’s important to work with a qualified therapist who can assess your individual needs and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan.

Comparing DBT to Other Therapies

If you’re considering DBT, you might be wondering how it compares to other popular therapy approaches. While there are many effective treatments out there, DBT does have some unique features that set it apart.

What Is the Difference Between DBT and CBT?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are both evidence-based treatments that focus on changing unhelpful thoughts and behaviors. However, there are some key differences between the two. CBT is a more general approach that can be used for a wide variety of mental health concerns, while DBT was specifically designed for people with BPD and chronic suicidality. DBT places a greater emphasis on validation, acceptance, and mindfulness skills in addition to the cognitive and behavioral strategies used in CBT. Another difference is the format – CBT is typically done in individual therapy sessions, while DBT includes both individual therapy and group skills training. The group component is an essential part of DBT treatment. So while CBT and DBT do have some overlap, they are distinct treatments with their own unique philosophies and approaches. The best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and goals.

Finding a Skilled Dialectical Behavior Therapist

If you’re interested in trying DBT, the first step is to find a qualified provider who has specific training and experience in this approach. Here are a few things to look for:

  • A licensed mental health professional (psychologist, social worker, counselor, etc.) who has completed comprehensive DBT training
  • Experience leading DBT skills groups and providing individual DBT therapy
  • Membership in professional organizations such as the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification or the International Society for the Improvement and Teaching of DBT
  • Openness to working collaboratively and tailoring treatment to your individual needs and goals

Keep in mind that DBT is a specialized treatment, so not all therapists will have the necessary training to provide it effectively. It’s worth taking the time to find someone who really knows what they’re doing and feels like a good fit for you. If you have insurance, you can start by checking with your provider to see if they cover DBT and get a list of in-network therapists. You can also search online directories like Psychology Today or ask for referrals from your primary care doctor or other trusted healthcare providers. Remember, starting therapy is a brave and powerful step. With the right support and a willingness to practice new skills like Pros and Cons, you can start building a life worth living – one wise mind decision at a time.

Reach out to the Counseling Center Group today, to learn more about our DBT sessions. 

The DBT Skill: Pros and Cons is a powerful tool that can transform the way you make decisions. When you pause to measure both the good and bad sides, tackling life’s curveballs becomes clearer and feels less daunting.

No more impulsive choices or endless second-guessing. With this skill in your toolkit, you’ll be able to navigate even the toughest dilemmas with ease. And the best part? Think of it as your Swiss Army knife – equally useful for fixing up friendships or deciding on a career path.

So the next time you find yourself at a crossroads, remember The DBT Skill: Pros and Cons. It might just be the key to unlocking a brighter, more balanced future. Go ahead, give this a whirl—you might just be surprised!

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