DBT, General Psychology

January 29, 2024

Dialectical Thinking and Resolution Making

Author: Brianna Gwathney

Frigid temps, slippery sidewalks, high electric bills, and (potential) low motivation to be social and mobile, we welcome January with what could be a very chilly winter. With a new year often comes an array of resolutions: 

Some folks aspire to be more physically active while others recognize a need to prioritize rest. 

Some make it a goal to increase time spent with family and friends while others hope

to set boundaries in their relationships with loved ones. 

Some want to be more introspective and journal more while others want to make more

connections with others outside of themselves. 

Human beings are intricate individuals with unique needs. No matter where your resolutions lie on the spectrum of less or more, dialectical thinking can help you face challenges with expansive perspective and understanding that allows you to feel more confident in both the decisions you make and the reasons you make them. 

Dialectic is defined as “a method of examining and discussing opposing ideas in order to find the truth.” Examining dialectic through a therapeutic lens, dialectical thinking is essentially the process of allowing two seemingly contradictory statements to be true at the same time. This act of reasoning goes against our very nature, but when executed with compassion and curiosity, this process of thinking invites a sense of validation to complex situations, relationships, and even identity formation. 

Examples of Dialectical thinking: 

I am doing the best I can and there is room for improvement.

I deserve to rest and it is important for my health for me to exercise my body. 

I have many friends and sometimes I feel lonely. 

I love my partner and I hate the way their voice raises when they are angry. 

I love my family and I always feel sad and exhausted after family functions. 

Dialectic thinking challenges proximity and encourages us to vulnerably examine situations, relationships, and ourselves in order to achieve alignment. As we begin to honor our perspectives exactly as they are, we invite humility, compassion, empathy, and presence to both our interactions and experiences, all of which make resolutions more likely to become routine.

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