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Dialectics: When Opposites Can Be True

Dialectics teaches us to consider both sides, in an effort to avoid the trap of black and white thinking.

The Dialectic checklist - ways to practice DBT in your everyday life from Gautier behavioral health

Dialectics, or the D in DBT, is "a method of examining and discussing opposing ideas in order to find the truth". When used as a therapeutic approach (or in the real world), it highlights the value in seeing both sides of a thought, helps problem solve, and can help reduce conflict.

Here are some of the best ways you can ensure you are practicing dialectics.

Look at Both Sides

You can practice this by asking yourself, "What am I missing here?" or "What might the other person be seeing that I can't?" It is a good way to start examining the whole picture.

Avoid Extremes

Try moving from using "either/or" to "both/and" and avoiding extreme words (always, never, etc) when thinking about things. This looks like changing "I am always stressed and miserable" to "Somedays I feel ok and somedays I am stressed".

Be Open to Alternatives

This one is pretty simple - you don't have all the answers, be open to other's ideas and opinions.

Acknowledge the Validity of Different Opinions

Even if you might not agree on someone else's opinion, you can recognize it is valid. This look a little bit like, "I don't agree but I can see where you are coming from".

Avoid Making Assumptions

Don't assume that you know what others are thinking, make sure to ask questions and get the full picture.

Embrace Change

In life, change is constant and fighting it, ignoring it, or denying it will only lead to suffering.


Nothing on this blog should be taken as replacement for medical, clinical, or professional advice or intervention. All content is for educational purposes only.


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