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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy - Effectiveness

It always seems when I teach a concept at work, I see it again and again in my daily life. For example, my husband was upset his solar-powered calculator had been left in the dark and was “dead." My suggestion that he use his iPad instead was rejected. He insisted he had to use his calculator.

My way or the highway

Also, the Y has now mandated the wearing of masks even when working out. Classes this week were noticeably smaller. People did not want to work out under those conditions.


The dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) concept I am trying to illustrate is effectiveness. Effectiveness is simply doing what works. It is based on reality and accepting and dealing with what is. It has nothing to do with what people “should” do. It has nothing to do with what we want to do. It does not even have to do with wanting to be “right." It just has to do with doing what works under the circumstances.

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Doing what works

Doing what works requires not only looking at reality but also looking at our goals and finding a way to get there. It may not be the usual way we do things. It will just be a way that gets us to our goal.

Doing it my way

Sometimes, however, we are unwilling to do things a way that will work. My husband did not want to use his iPad to do his calculations. He preferred to wait and do it “his way”. People not showing up for exercise classes at the Y want to work out the way they have always done it.

The problem with this approach is two-fold. First of all, the reality of the situation is not honored. For example, right now the pandemic is surging. The choices we have are limited. If we do not want to spread the virus, rules need to be made and they need to be followed. Not following a mask rule will have me being shown the door. The second part of the problem is this: not doing what is effective leads to our forfeiting our goals. Not being willing to accept all aspects of reality and thereby find a way to work with reality, means we have no way to surmount obstacles and get where we want to be. If I want to do exercise classes at the Y, I wear a mask. End of story.

Effectiveness and visual impairment

Thinking of all of that today, I started thinking about visual impairment. There are people who are thwarted and frustrated by their visual impairment. The truth of the matter being, there are a lot of people thwarted and frustrated by their visual impairment but it may not have to be that frustration always follows thwarted. The difference between those who are thwarted and find a way to get to their goals and those who are thwarted, stalled and frustrated is a willingness to be effective.

Accepting vision loss

How many times have you adopted a “my way or no way” attitude towards doing things with a vision loss? How did that work for you? You probably did not often get to your goal because you failed to calculate in reality. You wanted to do things the way you always did them or the way they “should” be done.

As adults with late acquired vision loss, we need to remember the rules have changed. There is often a way to get and do what we want, it just may not be the way we want to do it. Acknowledge reality. Keep goals in mind. Be effective.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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