For Family and Friends

People struggling with emotional difficulties need the help of their family, friends, partners, spouses, etc.

Sometimes this just involves just a little understanding and support while the person works through their problems. You may just need to give them time to talk or space to work on things. However, when things are more complex support needs get more complex. You may feel that whatever you do isn’t good enough, or that you try to help but it seems to make things worse. Maybe you’ve even given up trying.

DBT has long understood that a person’s broader environment matters. Family, friends, work, school, all play crucial roles in complex emotional problems. The biosocial model explains how a person’s environment can interact/transact with their emotional sensitivity in a way that shapes and reinforces particular patterns of responding to emotions. It’s very important here to say that this is not about blame. In our experience people with the kind of emotional problems that DBT is designed for can come from a range of different family backgrounds from very loving, supportive and caring families, as well as families that are rejecting, harsh or where there is high levels of conflict.

So DBT is not just for people struggling with emotional difficulties. DBT is also for anyone who interacts with the person and wants to learn to help in more effective ways. The good news is that there are many resources around, including our forthcoming family and friends programme.

Support and carers people can also experience emotional difficulties themselves. They tend to experience higher levels of anxiety, depression and  sleep problems. This can then impact on the support person’s work, family life, leisure activities, which then feeds anxiety etc. This makes complete sense of course, and yet support people and carers often do not get help themselves. They may not feel they have the time; they may feel that they should be focusing on the person they are trying to help; they may feel guilty about focusing on their needs or think they are not as important. However, it is very important to understand that you will be more effective if you get help and support, and in the end being effective in providing help and support is what really matters.