Reasonable Mind and Wise Mind

In DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) we learned about States of Mind

  • Reasonable Mind (logic, organization)
  • Emotional Mind (making decisions based on emotions)
  • Intuition (knowing without proof)
  • Trauma Mind (acting as though a trauma from past is still happening)
  • Wise Mind (using Reasonable and Emotional Minds with Intuition)

I realized I used to spend a great deal of time in Reasonable Mind problem-solving, reading, organizational awareness. And I spent time in Wise Mind with a strong sense of self that led to the ability to have some balance and a center. But now I’m spending time in Emotional Mind and Trauma Mind. Flashbacks good and bad of memories from last year, and emotions good and bad guiding my actions.

I find that I’m missing the ability to be in Reasonable Mind the way I used to be. Focus and concentration elude me, so that even reading is challenging. The library book on my table laughs at me. I realized, too, that tasks around the house, such as housework or organizing paperwork, seem to take Reasonable Mind. All this time I’ve said I don’t have energy for chores and tasks and life, but now I know it’s because I don’t have the ability to be in that state of mind. I’ll hit a major milestone when I find I can be in Reasonable Mind for periods of time.

As I’ll hit a major milestone when I can be back in Wise Mind for periods of time. That, I think, will require a strong sense of self again, as well as an ability to balance, to move among intuition, emotions and reasonableness with some agility. I’m practicing this ability with all the mindfulness practices we learn in DBT and in outpatient therapy and from my life as a spiritual person. They include Qi Gong  and Tai Chi, Breathing to self-soothe, Focusing on the present moment, Sentence Prayers, Watching thoughts and memories and feelings ebb and flow rather than getting stuck in one.

I even made a set of flashcards with rational responses on them about feelings and memories ebbing and flowing, having a beginning and a middle and an end. They help when I get flashbacks in Trauma Mind or I’m getting stuck in Emotional Mind making decisions that only follow my emotional ups and downs.


2 responses to “Reasonable Mind and Wise Mind

  1. That awareness is so powerful – knowing “where your head is” at any time is going to serve you well. Breathe, be Reasonable when you can, and keep moving forward. You’re going to make it.

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