DBT Mindfulness, Being vs Doing Mind & Loving Kindness

As often occurs in DBT programmes, my Skills Group had a rather poor turn out this Saturday morning. Only two of us turned up, plus the two therapists scheduled, so we got through the agenda pretty smoothly. The session covered the last quarter of the Mindfulness module. Similarly to the concept of Emotion Mind v.s. Reasonable Mind which we learnt about in week one, today we explored another dialectic – the Being Mind v.s. the Doing Mind.

Doing Mind is the state we are in when we are rushing around busying ourselves with tasks, focused solely on planning or achieving the ‘next thing’, and forgetting to acknowledge the current moment. It is common whilst in this head-space to feel that we are going through our lives with time passing us by without being genuinely present in our experiences of it.

Being Mind, on the other hand, is when we become so focused on the present moment and the experiences it brings, that we lose ourselves in them entirely. Neither the past nor the future matter, and rational thinking, planning and evaluating go out the window.

Here is the worksheet to expand:

There is however an overlap between the two extremes, known once again as Wise Mind. Within this state, we can be in both Doing Mind and Being Mind simultaneously. This means that we are working towards long-term goals and investing positively in our futures, whilst at the same time fully participating in the present moment and feeling our way through current experiences exactly as they are. The example I gave during our group today was regarding my job as a nanny: Whilst working with the kids, I am not only driven by my personal goals and focused on the job at hand in each moment, but I also make a conscious effort to fully participate with the girls and take pleasure in the activities we do together.

Some aims of the Wise-Minded state which we discussed include:

  • Doing what is needed in the moment, including reviewing the past or planning for the future, whilst at the same time experiencing the present moment for what it is – and the uniqueness of these moments.
  • Throwing yourself into achieving your goals, whilst at the same time letting go of absolutely having to achieve them.
  • Being willing to accept what you have in your life in the present moment, whilst at the same time not suppressing the desire to have something else.
  • Keeping track of where you are within your life right now and how far you still need to go to get to where you eventually want to be, whilst at the same time remaining present within your life as it is currently, experiencing both the positives and negatives of it.

On a slight side-note, we also looked briefly at the concept of Loving Kindness, also known as Compassion. Although it may look and sound cheesy on the worksheet below, there is actually a lot that can be said for practising these skills – both for oneself and for others.

Next week we move on to the 2nd module out of the four – Emotion Regulation. More DBT Skills Group updates to come next Saturday!


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