New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet

Have your DBT patient reflect on their feelings about new experiences with this Radically Open DBT Worksheet!

By Matt Olivares on Jun 11, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What does it mean to be radically open?

Before we discuss the New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet, let’s first discuss what being radically open entails.

Being radically open is a mindset that’s important to Radically Open DBT, which is a type of dialectical behavioral therapy that focuses on tackling mental health problems that are related to control or over control. This type of therapy is evidence-based and focuses on three aspects of a person’s mental well-being: openness to things and experiences, flexibility in their behavior, and level of social connectedness. By focusing on these, this form of therapy aims to help patients become more willing to experience new things, more adaptable to situations (especially distressing ones), and more open to establishing and maintaining healthy relationships.

To be radically open means:

  • To actively prevent oneself from being stuck and stagnant
  • To be open to learning new information and listening to feedback
  • To be open to experiencing new things
  • To be willing to disprove information and feedback
  • To be brave and change what needs to be changed in your life
  • To be humble and open to listen and learn from what the world has to offer
  • To be open to making new relationships and maintaining healthy ones
  • To embrace our fallibility and take responsibility for our actions, reactions, and emotions

Radical openness is something that RO DBT therapists will work to instill in their patients. They will teach them the necessary concepts and skills related to radical openness, and to see how their patients can apply what they’ve learned.

Watch this video to find out more about DBT techniques:

Printable New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet

Download this New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet to help clients reflect on new experiences.

How to use the New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet

The Radically Open DBT Worksheet we will discuss for this guide is the New Experiences worksheet. Since one of the characteristics of radical openness is to be open to new experiences rather than be closed off to them completely, issuing this worksheet is a good way to gauge how patients think about experiencing new things and actively choosing not to experience new things. It’s best for you, the therapist, to know how they view experiencing new things considering that is one of the core tenets of being radically open.

Using this worksheet is quite simple. Your patient shouldn’t have any difficulties with the instructions since they are simple. There are two columns: one for being open to new experiences and one for being closed to them.

What the patient needs to do is to write about the pros and cons of being open to trying out new things, being inexperienced (or at least being seen as someone who is inexperienced), not having the answer for something, and being in situations that they haven’t been in before.

They must also write down the pros and cons of being actively closed off to new experiences (all the more if they have closed themselves from new experiences because of something that happened in the past).

That’s all they have to do for this worksheet! On your part, you have to talk to them about their answers during the next session, then identify what might be detrimental to their mental health and how it’s best to navigate around it using RO DBT skills and techniques.

New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet Example

Now that you know the basic gist of radical openness (and, by extension, what Radically Open DBT is all about), it’s time for you to see what the New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet looks like. This is an adaptation of The Pros and Cons of Being Open Versus Closed to New Experiences Worksheet created by Thomas R. Lynch for his training manual for RO DBT. It’s basically the same, only we added a comments box for the therapist to jot down how their conversation with their patient went when they discussed their pros and cons.

If you like what you see and believe it’s beneficial to your work as a Dialectical Behavior Therapist, then go ahead and download this free Radically Open DBT Worksheet template! We hope it helps you treat your patient.

Download this New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet Example:

New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet Example

When is it best to issue the New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet?

The best time to issue the New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet is when you’ve established rapport and trust with your patient, and they feel safe enough to talk about what’s troubling them. It’s common for worksheets to be issued when you’re a little far along in your patient’s therapeutic journey because that’s when you’ve taught them essential skills and techniques, and they just need to show you how they are able to apply them. Though, there are worksheets that can be issued early on, and the New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet is one such worksheet.

The reason why it’s perfect for issuing this early on is because this worksheet allows you to learn about how your patient views being open to new experiences and being closed off to them, supposedly without filters. By learning how they think about these, you can gauge them based on them as controlled individuals. In the context of RO DBT, controlled or overcontrolled individuals often look at experiencing new things or getting into unfamiliar situations as something dangerous, which usually stems from prior experience.

Through this worksheet, you can examine the causes of their behavior and determine what is preventing them from being open to things. Whatever you identify can be something to focus on as you help them work through their problems and disinclination to experience new things.

What are the benefits of using the New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet?

It is a simple worksheet!

This worksheet isn’t complex in the slightest, so your patient should have an easy time filling it out! It just asks them to write down what they believe are the pros and cons of both being inclined to experience new things and closing themselves from experiencing new things. Some worksheets often ask patients to write down solutions they have in mind for certain problems, but this one doesn’t ask such a thing since this worksheet is more of a tool to get to know the patient better.

It can help professionals get to know their patients better.

Speaking of getting to know the patient better, this worksheet assists healthcare professionals with that because it’s one way to get patients to talk about themselves in a way that professionals can get something out of it and truly kickstart their therapy programs. They will be able to identify the thinking patterns of controlled or overcontrolled patients and see which of these patterns are the result of certain experiences and which ones seem to be detrimental to their patients’ respective mental well-being.

The template can serve as a record of discussions.

After a patient submits a fully-accomplished worksheet, the healthcare professional can discuss them immediately or during the next session. Having a discussion about the patient’s answers is recommended because it’s your opportunity to get them to expand on what they wrote down. The template that we created has a comments box that is specifically for mental healthcare professionals to note things based on the patient’s answers and what they discussed after. They can look at their notes to determine what to do next and what they should focus on when it comes to treating their patient.

It can track changes in a patient’s thinking.

Let’s say you’ve progressed far enough in your therapy program to the point you’ve taught the patient skills to help them work through their problems. Naturally, you’d like to know how they will fare after a while, so using this worksheet again can help you track how they’ve changed over time.

How long does it take to finish the New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet?
How long does it take to finish the New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet?

Commonly asked questions

How long does it take to finish the New Experiences Radically Open DBT Worksheet?

That depends on who and why this worksheet is being used. If you’re using this as part of your therapy program, discuss the deadline with the patient. If you’re using this for personal reasons, don’t worry about how long it takes to finish it because it’s up to you.

Is it difficult to accomplish this RO DBT worksheet?

There shouldn’t be any difficulty since this worksheet simply asks those engaging with it to indicate the pros and cons of being open and closed off to new experiences. They’re not going to be asked to reflect on their thoughts and come up with solutions for certain problems.

What if I’m not enrolled in a therapy program? May I use this for personal use?

Yes, you may! If you think it would help to make it clear to yourself as to how you view being open to experiencing new things and being closed off to new experiences, then by all means, download the template! Just disregard the part for therapists. However, please do know that you shouldn’t substitute this for therapy. If your views on new experiences has negatively impacted your mental well-being, please see a professional so you have someone who can help you work through your problems.

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