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"Deliberate Practice is Hard. How Do You Stay Motivated?"

Updated: Jul 31, 2022

A few weeks ago I got a new subscriber followed by an email.

He introduced himself and stated that he's been working with DP coach for a while, also blogs about his DP journey, and is working on building a DP community. We've been emailing back and forth, and I thought some of the discussion would interest you. Reading this you'll see how dedicated he is to improving, and if you check out his blog, you'll be struck, as I was, by how methodical he is with his practice routine.



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Hi Jordan,

There's something I've thought to ask you too, as DP has a pretty major accessibility problem in our field, a lot of therapists think of it as way too hard to try, especially in Australia as our DP community is very small and we have approximately 3.5 coaches in the whole country.

As you're someone that clearly has a high interest in DP, how did you make it easier/more accessible for yourself when you started and how do you protect your time for it now?


- J


Hey J,

It's pretty simple. Every day that I see clients I do 10 mins of deliberate practice.

Wesley Little

I picked up this tip from Wesley Little, and have loved it! 10 minutes is such a short period of time I can almost always do it in the morning. It just feels really manageable. Also, after I do my practice I fill out the DP diary form and send it to Tony. He was my DP coach for a while, so the routine of sending it to him really helps to keep me motivated. He doesn't really hold me accountable or anything, but mentally having someone to send it to helps me. Finally, when I send him my DP diary, I attach it to a thread with all my previous DP diary emails. I've done over 90 DP sessions in the past year and can't wait to get to 100! Seeing the long chain helps keep me motivated!

So those are the three things that keep me motivated.

1. Only doing 10 mins on therapy days. 2. Sending it to my coach for internal accountability 3. Seeing the number of practice sessions rack up.
Tony Rousmaniere

But let's just acknowledge that it's hard, like really hard. I've come to believe that it's just too much to ask people to do DP on their own. In fact Tony Rousmaniere, one of the founding fathers of DP in psychotherapy and founder of Sentio, recently told me that the only way to get people to do DP is to mandate it on the institutional level. I'm not sure I agree with him. I think most of the time quality suffers when people are forced to do things. For example, look at our school systems. We've mandated education and many people are now educated, but how many people will read a book just for fun? For many, mandating education has destroyed the most essential part of education - a love of learning.

I think the way forward is through the certification processes. All certification processes from Trauma Focused CBT to EMDR should use a DP format for certification. I think that's much more realistic because people who want to get certified are already self motivated to improve their skills. Also, these certification tribes give people the peer support to keep going when they might otherwise lose motivation. It's just too much to do on our own.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

Love to hear back from you man.




*This email exchange has been lightly edited for publishing purposes.


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