BIRCH TREE ONLINE COURSES
We are thrilled to be able to offer our detailed courses online. Each of the courses assists in delving deeper into topics that we have found to be incredibly beneficial for clinicians and individuals to understand more thoroughly.
Each course is based on a five-week program featuring handouts, worksheets, additional resources, and a weekly 'lecture' (a video with accompanying audio).
See below for more information about each course.
Mindfulness training for clinicians and individuals.
Psychologist and mindfulness meditation teacher, Jon Kabat-Zinn, has defined mindfulness in this way: “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”.
Practising mindfulness training helps identify, live with, and reduce difficult, painful feelings, thoughts and sensations and has been shown to enhance well-being.
Research on the neural perspective of how mindfulness meditation works suggests that it exerts its effects in components of attention regulation, body awareness, emotional regulation, and change in perspective of self.
People who practise mindfulness can develop a sense of mastery over their thoughts and feelings. They learn to be able to have some agency over them. It is a self-empowering process.
Mindfulness practice has been shown to reduce anxiety; depression; substance abuse; chronic pain, and much more. Some of the other benefits of regular mindfulness practice include:
learning how to focus one’s attention on the task at hand rather than having a wandering mind and not doing any one task well;
being “in the now” and not being side tracked by unhelpful thoughts or impulses; and
mastering the non-judgemental observation of external and internal stimuli as they come into play and exert an (often unwelcome) influence.
DISTRESS TOLERANCE COURSE
This five-week course on Distress Tolerance is suitable for clinicians and individuals.
We cover a range of strategies and techniques, including 'self-soothing' and 'reality acceptance', and help you understand the concepts and theories behind distress tolerance.
Distress tolerance skills are designed to improve a person's ability to manage actual or perceived emotional distress. The skills taught here encourage the ability to be able to make it through an emotional incident without making it worse. People who have low distress tolerance tend to become overwhelmed by stressful situations and may sometimes turn to unhealthy or even destructive ways of coping with these difficult emotions.
Everyone experiences a wide variety of stress during life. These stresses can range from daily annoyances to major events such as a job loss, divorce, or the death of a loved one. Whether the stress is large or small, your ability to tolerate distress can play a role in how you manage the situation. Learning distress tolerance skills can make a very positive difference in your ability to handle difficult emotions.
The types of skills that are taught during this module include:
Distraction: Distraction can be a very effective way of taking action to increase your distress tolerance. It involves using a variety of methods to take your mind off of your feelings of distress.
Improving the Moment: This strategy involves using a variety of strategies to help make the stressful situation more tolerable. Visualising a relaxing scene, looking for the silver lining, or taking a mental break to do something pleasant are all examples of ways that you can improve the moment.
Pros and Cons: This distress tolerance technique involves thinking about the potential pros and cons of either tolerating the distress or not tolerating it. It can be a good tool for thinking through the short-term and long-term consequences of an action.
Radical Acceptance: Rather than focusing on things that cannot be changed or that are out of your control, radical acceptance involves just accepting things as they are and letting go of feelings of regret, anger, or bitterness.
Self-Soothing: Finding ways to calm yourself and keep negative emotions in check is an important part of building distress tolerance. Different sensory experiences that involve sight, sound, smell, taste, or touch can all be used to self-soothe during difficult moments.
EMOTION REGULATION COURSE
This five-week course on Emotion Regulation is suitable for those wishing to improve their therapy skills and knowledge of DBT strategies; as well as those wishing to develop their own skills in understanding and managing emotions.
Emotion regulation is the ability to control or influence which emotions you have, when you have them, and how you experience and express them. We cover a range of strategies and techniques designed to help raise conscious control of emotions as well as practical strategies to help emotion regulation become automatic.
Difficulties in regulating painful emotions are central to the behavioural difficulties of many individuals such as substance misuse; overeating; emotion suppression; overcontrol issues; and interpersonal issues.
These skills are useful for anyone living with high emotional sensitivity and/or intensity; or frequent emotional distress and are taught to help with learning to regulate emotions.
The specific DBT skills taught in this module are grouped into four segments:
· Understanding and naming emotions
· Changing unwanted emotions
· Reducing vulnerability to emotion mind
· Managing extreme emotions
INTERPERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS COURSE
This five-week course on Interpersonal Effectiveness is suitable for those wishing to improve their therapy skills and knowledge of DBT strategies; as well as those wishing to develop their own skills in developing and maintaining healthy relationships.
Interpersonal skills taught in this DBT skills training module are divided into two sections.
The first section focusses on core interpersonal skills of obtaining objectives whilst maintaining relationships and self-respect.
The second section is designed for those who want help in developing and maintaining relationships. It focuses on decreasing interpersonal isolation by addressing how to find friends, get them to like you, and then build the sensitivity and communication skills necessary for maintaining friendships. How to end destructive relationships is also covered.
The core interpersonal skills include effective strategies for asking for what one needs, for saying no, and for managing interpersonal conflicts skillfully. There are also skills taught to help individuals learn how to apply specific interpersonal problem solving, social and assertiveness skills to modify adverse environments and obtain goals in interpersonal encounters.