Dialectical Behavior Therapy

DBT

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Mental health and addiction impact millions across the United States; and while more than 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, only around 10 percent receive treatment. Whether you or your loved one are suffering from a debilitating anxiety disorder, depression, PTSD, substance abuse disorder, or any other disorder that currently reduces your quality of life, dialectical behavior therapy can assist you on your road to recovery.

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

First developed in the 1980s, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) . As its name suggests, DBT is influenced by the philosophy of dialectics — or balancing opposites. While working with a therapist, you will learn to promote balance, and manage  black and white thinking. While DBT focuses on a both-and-rather outlook, in comparison to an either-or outlook, acceptance and change are at the core of this therapy.  DBT is focused on regulating emotions, accepting pain as part of the human condition, and being mindful.  Building skills to improve life is important to long term recovery.

Being a form of talk therapy, DBT is offered as individual or group therapy. During treatment sessions, the aim is to develop acceptance to promote behavioral changes.

The main goal of DBT is to teach individuals how to:

  • Be more present or “live in the moment”
  • Develop healthier coping strategies related to stress
  • Better regulate their emotions
  • Improve their relationships with others

When DBT Therapy Is Used

DBT is used to help anyone who has difficulty with emotional regulation or anyone who is exhibiting self-destructive behaviors. Originally developed to treat borderline personality disorder, DBT is now a viable option for treating many conditions, including eating disorders, substance use disorder, PTSD, and depression. This form of treatment generally consists of individual therapy sessions and DBT skills group therapy.

 

 

DBT is typically offered as part of a more comprehensive treatment plan, helping clients improve their relationship and overall quality of life. Regardless of your condition, as you learn to effectively manage your emotions, you will be able to lead a happier, healthier life. This can be achieved through various DBT skills, including mindfulness, reality acceptance, and learning to take a less judgmental stance.

How Long Is DBT Therapy?

On average, a full DBT therapy treatment takes around six months to one year to complete. However, most research examines the 12-month version of CBT. In this review, it was found that 6-months of DBT is comparable to one-year of DBT in terms of clinical outcomes. In that sense, 6-months may be more beneficial as it helps increase access to treatment. Of course, this will be highly dependent on your personal circumstances. For example, if you have experienced severe trauma and also suffer from addiction, you may benefit from a 12-month inpatient program, followed by a highly structured aftercare program.

What to Expect From DBT Therapy

While focusing on skills training, DBT is often broken down into four key modules. Two of these modules are based on acceptance while the other two relate to behavioral change. These modules are as follows.

Mindfulness

This module helps you learn to observe your emotions, thoughts, and actions without judgment so that you can promote greater acceptance. You will learn how to accept and be present in the current moment.

Distress tolerance

This is the second acceptance skill, which helps you cope with emotional pain and distressing situations. The goal here is to learn how to accept these situations for what they are, letting go of what you think they should be. This means you will learn to tolerate and overcome negative emotions instead of trying to escape them.

Emotional regulation

When dealing with intense emotions, it’s important to learn how to regulate them. This begins with identifying emotions (i.e. sadness and anger). Throughout the course of your DBT treatment plan, you will learn to reduce your susceptibility to these types of extreme, damaging emotions; all while learning how to cope and experience more positive emotions.

Interpersonal effectiveness

DBT works by actively improving the way you communicate with others. After all, one of the main goals of this therapy is to help you improve your relationships. As you learn to communicate your needs and set boundaries in a healthy manner, this will allow you to protect your mental health and the bonds you share with those you love. The ultimate goal here is to learn how to communicate in a way that is assertive while maintaining self-respect.

Most often, a DBT program will also incorporate individual psychotherapy. Depending on what it is you aim to treat, your experience will differ. For example, as reported in this empirical review, when aiming to treat borderline personality disorder, there are certain goals that are reached during each stage of treatment.

These include:

  1. Reducing behaviors that interfere with therapy and/or your quality of life in order to improve behavioral skills.
  2. Treating any issues related to past trauma.
  3. Developing great self-esteem while improving everyday behavioral skills, with the goal to reclaim happiness.
  4. Finding a higher purpose.

If you are working through a dual-diagnosis, your treatment plan will be tailored to you and your unique needs. If you are dependent on drugs and/or alcohol, substance abuse will be the highest order DBT target within the behaviors that interfere with your quality of life. During DBT, the ultimate goal here would be to discontinue using destructive substances for good (i.e. change), while also understanding that a relapse, should it occur, does not mean that you cannot succeed (i.e. acceptance).

 

Corner Canyon Health Centers Can Help

At Corner Canyon Health Centers, we offer the latest and most innovative treatment methods. Our inpatient mental health and addiction recovery center offers a wide range of programs and treatment options, including behavioral therapy. Here, we will teach you how to increase emotional regulation by observing triggers so that you can develop beneficial coping skills.

At Corner Canyon, we understand that each individual is unique in terms of their needs, desires, and goals. That is why we offer customized treatment plans, supporting you every step of the way.

Ready to begin your road to recovery? We’re here for you. Call us today to obtain the help you deserve today!