In September 2014, I started DBT with my individual therapist, using material from Moonshine Consulting. I hated it. In January 2015, I reluctantly joined a DBT group using material from Marsha Linehan’s book. I hated it more. Over time I’ve found that the skills I’ve learned actually are helpful, and at some point I switched into a different DBT group that has a better group dynamic.
However, I promised myself when I started the group that I could quit after getting through all four modules once. They want us to stay to go through all of it at least twice, and some people stay in the group for years, but I never committed to that. The time has now come that I reached the end of the last module. In individual therapy I have a little over half of one module to go. The problem is, I missed 4 weeks here and there in the Emotion Regulation module, due to being scheduled at my new job. I’ve reviewed the handouts and there is very little that I completely missed, due to there being review built into each group meeting, but I’m not sure what to do.
One of the DBT skills is called Pros & Cons. You make a set of four boxes in which you list the pros & cons of one choice and the pros & cons of the opposite choice. In this case, my choices are staying in DBT group vs. quitting DBT group.
Pros of Staying in DBT Group
* adds structure to my week
* can cover the small amount of material I missed
* provides time to interact with others
* avoidance of change
* friends support this option
* I don’t have to pay for it
* having additional members on my treatment team
* group members are always changing and I might meet someone I really like
Cons of Staying in DBT Group
* there are some members who really annoy me
* having to do 2 separate diary cards each week
* takes up time on one of the days mom is free
* it’s boring and will be more so upon repetition
* may have to miss more meetings, especially if my work hours are increased
* I feel like I don’t belong there
* the material used in individual therapy is much more helpful
Cons of Quitting DBT Group
* there are a few people I would miss
* more time to fill
* feel guilt that I didn’t cover 100% of the material
* will disappoint therapists
* quitting things makes me feel like a bad person
* it would be hard to go back if I changed my mind
* I’m losing a lot of structure in my life soon and don’t need more changes
Pros of Quitting DBT Group
* I promised myself I could quit after going through it all once
* save on gas money
* less DBT in my life
* fewer reminders that I’m defective
* no more reports saying I didn’t make progress
* no more requirement of 20 hours of structured time weekly
I don’t feel like this exercise has gotten me any closer to a decision. I strongly want to quit group. I also feel like quitting makes me a bad person. This might be because I’ve been called a quitter over and over in my life, when it was completely undeserved. I’ve been disallowed from doing things I wanted to do under the logic that I will just quit them. I’ve been trained that quitting is failure, no matter what the reasons behind it. I’ve tried and tried to train myself out of this thinking, but no matter how many times I quit something for good reasons, I still feel like I’ve done something horribly wrong.
I guess the next step is to determine which of my pros & cons actually matter. For example, I don’t really care about saving gas money, as the trip is only a few miles each way, once a week. However, I care very much about the fact that I promised myself I could quit. Once I eliminate the pros & cons that don’t really matter, maybe the decision will be more clear.