Oftentimes in DBT, we ask our clients to practice behaviors that may seem uncomfortable or foreign to them.  We’re met with reactions like, “I can’t do this,” “I don’t want to use my skills,” or “Do you even know what it’s like?”  And while I can’t proclaim to know what it’s like to live my clients’ lives, I can tell you I was met with a… let’s call it “less-than-ideal…” situation two weeks ago.  And do you know what I did?  I used my skills…In order to more effectively serve my clients, myself, and my team, I enrolled in a DBT training (that’s right, for you!).  The chaos from the holidays had settled, the dawn of spring was on the horizon, and I was going to spend it in… (drumroll, please)… Apple Valley, Minnesota!  Where again, you ask?  That’s what I said.  Apple what?!Allow me to quickly clarify.  I have nothing against Apple Valley, MN.  I was simply born and raised in the South, and had never heard of Apple Valley, MN before I was scheduled to travel there (it’s a city half an hour south of the Twin Cities, by the way).  Okay, I’ll be honest.  I was judging Apple Valley.  I was judging Apply Valley HARD.So I was able to acknowledge that I was making judgments against a city that I had never visited (cognitive awareness), and I chose to label the thoughts for what they were: just thoughts (mindfulness).  Then, I checked the facts: I had never visited Apple Valley, I was comparing a city I knew little about to a metropolis in the South, the training was located in Apple Valley, the training was significant to my career, I had purchased my non-refundable plane ticket months ago, and I had agreed to split lodging with another clinician at the office.  Let’s face it.  I was going to Apple Valley, MN in March.When you can only exert minimal control over your environment AND you need it to serve a long-term goal, what are your choices?  Let’s look at our four options for solving any problem:Solve the problem by changing or avoiding/leaving the situationI couldn’t change the location of the training and my plane ticket wasn’t refundable.Feel better about the problem by changing your emotional response the the problemI could have possibly turned my mind and changed my emotions, but I didn’t want to (willfulness!).Tolerate the problem by accepting both the problem and your response to the problemI could possibly practice radical acceptance.Stay miserable and do nothing, possibly making the situation worseI decided that this would not be effective because going to this training was essential to a long-term goal of mine.I chose to radically accept the situation, and further assess when I arrived.  If the answer here is less clear to you, you could attempt a pros and cons list for each option.Well, I arrived late Sunday evening/Monday morning and could not find an Uber to pick me up from the airport.  Okay, practice radically accepting Jane… so I downloaded Lyft instead and was able to get a ride to the hotel (problem-solving, yay!).  There was no one at the front desk when I arrived after towing around 75 lbs. of luggage (yes, this was a fact).  Again, practice radically accepting Jane… And then the front desk associate told me (when she arrived a few minutes later) that she could not find the key my roommate had left for me (insert paced breathing here).  We’re not off to a great start here, folks.I could have chosen to engage in some maladaptive behaviors when I finally reached what would be my home for the next five days.  I, instead, chose to concede to the evening.  I practiced some mindfulness skills, and decided to get ready for bed because that’s what would be the most effective.  Then I meditated and went to sleep.Long story shortened, getting to Apple Valley, MN was probably the most difficult part of my trip because I hadn’t yet turned my mind.  When I did finally turn my mind, I was able to engage in opposite action and practice willingness, because attending this training was an imperative component of my future and long-term goals.  I could have focused on how I didn’t want to be there, how I was away from my home, my family, my friends, and my loved ones, how I was missing my friend’s party, and how much happier I would be if I was anywhere but there.  Instead, I chose to accumulate positives and build mastery.  I was there anyway, right?  I may as well make lemonade out of lemons!  And at least the weather wasn’t in the 20s and 30s like it was the previous year! This is just the tip of the iceberg of the skills I used during my five days in Apple Valley, MN.  But the point here is that we clinicians have to consciously implement our skills too.  It’s easy to do nothing and suffer.  Sometimes, I love to sit around and moan about how miserable I am.  And that’s okay.  Eventually, however, I reach a point where changes need to made.  And that’s when I use my skills.