… to reduce suffering, …wait, what?
This concept can be one of the most challenging skills in DBT. It takes a significant amount of awareness to look at a situation and say “Acceptance doesn’t mean approval.”
Wrapping our heads around this concept can seem daunting!
I was working with a client who was having difficulty dealing with her emotions surrounding her father’s health decline. While working with her, I lightly tossed radical acceptance into the conversation. Let’s just say that suggestion didn’t go over with overwhelming positivity. I let it go for the moment, and we worked on other skills to get ready for radical acceptance.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I introduced the song “Keep Movin On” by Sam Cooke. Usually, I would print out the lyrics so we could look at them while the song played. However, on this day, I asked her just to close her eyes and listen.
“Keep movin’ on, keep movin’ on; life is this way.
Keep movin’ on, keep movin’ on every day.”Sam Cooke
After listening, we discussed how this part of the song related to what she was going through. I then was able to reintroduce Radical Acceptance. In this reintroduction, I focused on tackling this skill.
Resisting and being willful could cause more suffering because, as the song says,
“Life is this way.”Sam Cooke
Even though she wasn’t ready to fully accept what was happening, she left that session saying she was open to exploring it. I refrained from squealing and jumping for joy (As a clinician I feel that way when a client has a breakthrough!) and asked her to listen to the song again and think about where in her life she can apply radical acceptance.
Try using the Sam Cook song “Keep Movin On” for Radical Acceptance and let us know how this experience goes!
**For a library of resources, including more in-depth instructions for using common songs for DBT skills, plus our own original songs and ready-made activities, specifically created by DBT Informed Board Certified Music Therapists to strengthen particular DBT skills, click below and join the membership that applies to you.
Have a Musical Monday!
Hillary Cartner-Ambrose, MT-BC
DBT Informed Music Therapist