What is Wise Mind in DBT?
What is Wise Mind?
Wise Mind is a foundational DBT concept.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an evidence-based therapy that was originally created to help people who feel overwhelmed by the intensity of their emotions. The concept of Wise Mind, though, can be beneficial to everyone.
Wise Mind is an internal state of wisdom, or knowledge. Intuition, feeling centered, or feeling grounded are also other ways of thinking about Wise Mind. It is a certain knowing about what feels right. Some people sense Wise Mind in their body – in their heart, their gut or in the middle of their chest.
Wise Mind is actually made up of two other states of mind: Emotion Mind and Reasonable Mind.
To understand the DBT concept of Wise Mind, you first need to know what Emotion Mind and Reasonable mind look like.
What is Emotion Mind?
Emotion Mind is hot; it’s a state of mind when emotions run high and awareness is solely focused on whatever feeling is strongest in the moment. If you’re angry, that’s all you see. If you’re sad, that’s all you see.
When you act from Emotion Mind, you make quick decisions without thinking about factors other than your emotions.
For example, Emotion Mind might lead you to walk out from your job in anger because of a conflict with a co-worker.
If you make decisions just from Emotion Mind, you create havoc in your life, burning bridges, prematurely ending relationships and potentially hurting yourself and those you care about.
What is Reasonable Mind?
Reasonable Mind is cool; it’s a state of mind where facts and logic predominate. Reasonable mind is devoid of emotion.
To go back to the job example, Reasonable Mind might have you stay in a job you hate because you’re just focusing solely on facts – like needing income or benefits – while completely ignoring that the job makes you miserable.
Emotion Mind + Reasonable Mind = Wise Mind
Wise Mind is the combination of Emotion Mind and Reasonable Mind. But it’s something more, too.
It’s that quiet place inside you that just knows what’s right.
Wise Mind draws on emotion and reason to help you weigh options about the right course of action to take.
In the job example, Wise Mind helps you figure out whether you need to talk with your co-worker, ask a supervisor for help or look for a new job.
Accessing and listening to your Wise Mind helps you move forward in your life. And when you act from Wise Mind, you can trust that your decisions are coming from a whole and centered place, aligned with what’s most important to you.
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