DBT: The Jellybean Experiment


I started attending a DBT group with my daughter a few weeks ago. Technically, I am her coach and she is the one who is supposed to be learning the skills. However, I am so excited to be learning skills I know I will benefit from as well.

If you have never heard of DBT or Dialectical Behavior Therapy; it is a psychotherapy that is usually recommended to treat certain mood disorders, such as Borderline Personality Disorder, Biplolar etc., It combines traditional cognitive therapies with a mindful awareness that derives from Buddhism. 

The Jellybean Experiment went like this: We all were given a jellybean. Then we had to slowly and purposefully hold it in our hands, notice the texture and how it feels. Then observe it with the rest of the senses. Looking at it, noticing it’s color, it’s brightness or dullness, etc., After touching it and looking, we then smelled it. Some people’s jellybeans had scents. My daughter had a popcorn scented one. Mine didn’t have a scent. Or I didn’t notice it anyway.

Finally, we put the jellybean in our mouths. But, before chewing it,etc., we had to let it sit in our mouths for a few seconds. Then, ever so slowly chew it, but don’t swallow it. Then finally after what seemed to be an eternity for me; I got to swallow the damn jellybean!


Individual reactions and experiences were interesting. Some people enjoyed their jellybean flavor. I did not as it only tasted like plastic to me. My daughter’s was popcorn flavored and she didn’t like it at all. Another person in the group agreed that popcorn flavor was unpleasant. Unpleasant, was the key word for me. The whole experiment was slightly unpleasant.

I could feel my sense of impatience during the prequel to finally tasting it. When I did get to put it in my mouth, it was unpleasant and I wanted to hurrily chew and swallow, just to get it over with.

The exercise was to practice using all of your senses and mindfully be in the moment.

What I learned is that when the moment is unpleasant, I have a tendency to want to hurry through it. I learned that I can be in that moment, tolerate it’s unpleasantness and then it passes.

Try the jellybean experiment at home. See what or if you learn anything from it.

Practice being in the moment with all of your senses~


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s