Dialectical (“Open Minded”) Thinking

Many times we can find ourselves in rigid thinking patterns that keep us from being able to effectively problem solve or get our needs met, leaving us in conflict with ourselves or other people.

“Dialectal” means that two ideas can be true at the same time. There is more than one way to see a situation and more than one true opinion, idea, thought or dream.

Two things that seem opposite can both be true. Everyone has something unique, different, and worthy to teach us.

A life worth living has both comfortable and uncomfortable aspects. And all points of view have true and false within them.

Examples: you are right and the other person is right. You are doing the best you can in this moment, and you need to change. You can take care of yourself and need help and support.

Dialectical or open minded thinking means letting go of “black and white,” “all or nothing” ways of seeing a situation. It is about finding a way to validate the other’s viewpoint and expanding our way of seeing things. Dialectal thinking is being more flexible and approachable. It is about avoiding assumptions and blaming. Avoiding extreme words–like, “always, never, you make me;” for example instead of saying “everyone treats me unfairly, “ you say “sometimes I am treated unfairly and at other times I am treated fairly.”

No one owns the truth. Be open and willing. (Linehan)

-Marie Turco, LCSW, CCDP-D

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