What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

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What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

DBT (Dialectical behavior therapy) is an improved kind of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). Its main goals are to teach people to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others.

It can help people who have difficulty controlling their emotions or who exhibit self-harming behaviors (such as eating disorders and substance use disorders)2. This kind of family therapy near me is also every so often utilized to cure PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

Dialectical behavior therapy techniques

DBT has evolved into an evidence-based psychotherapy approach that is used to treat many conditions. Settings in which DBT are frequently utilized include:

  • Group therapy where patients learn behavioral skills in a group setting.
  • Individual therapy with a qualified professional where the behavioral skills acquired by the patient are adapted to their personal challenges.
  • Telephone coaching in which patients can call the therapist between sessions to receive advice on how to deal with a difficult situation they are currently in.

Some of the strategies and techniques used in DBT are as follows.

Mindfulness

One of the important benefits of DBT is the development of mindfulness skills.4 Mindfulness helps you focus on the present or “live in the moment”. It helps you pay attention to what’s going on inside you (your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and impulses) as well as using your senses to connect with what’s going on around you (what you see, hear, smell and touch) without judgment. manners.

Mindfulness skills assist you to slow down and concentrate on utilizing healthy managing skills when you are during emotional pain. The strategy can also help you stay calm and avoid engaging in automatic negative thought patterns and impulsive behaviors.

Distress tolerance

Stress acceptance skills assist you to understand yourself and your existing situation. DBT teaches several techniques for dealing with a crisis, including:

  • Distraction
  • Improve the moment
  • Self-soothing
  • Think about the pros and cons of not tolerating distress

Distress tolerance techniques help you prepare for intense emotions and allow you to deal with them with a more positive long-term outlook.

Interpersonal effectiveness

Interpersonal effectiveness helps you be more assertive in a relationship (for example, expressing your needs and being able to say “no”) while keeping the relationship positive and transformation health. You will learn to listen and communicate more effectively, to deal with difficult people and to respect yourself and others.

Regulation of emotions

Emotion regulation allows you to navigate powerful feelings more effectively. The skills you learn will help you identify, name, and modify your emotions.

When you are able to recognize and deal with intense negative emotions (eg anger), it reduces your emotional vulnerability and helps you have more positive emotional experiences.

What dialectical behavior therapy can help

DBT was established in the late 1980s by Dr. Marsha Linehan and her colleagues when they discovered that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) alone did not work as well as expected in patients with BPD.

Although developed with BPD in mind, DBT could also be an effective treatment for:

  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Non-suicidal self-harm
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance use disorder8
  • suicidal behavior

Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

In DBT, the patient and therapist strive to resolve the apparent contradiction between self-acceptance and change to bring about positive changes in the individual being treated. Part of this process is offering validation, which helps people become more likely to cooperate and less likely to feel distress about change.

Acceptance and Change: You will learn strategies for accepting and tolerating your life circumstances, your emotions and yourself. You will also expand skills that may assist you to make positive adjustments in your behaviors and relations with others.

Behavioral: you will learn to analyze problems or destructive behaviors and replace them with more healthy and effective ones.

Cognitive: You will focus on changing thoughts and beliefs that are neither effective nor helpful.

Collaboration: You will learn to communicate effectively and work in a team (therapist, group therapist, psychiatrist).

Skill sets: You will learn new skills to improve your abilities.

Effectiveness of dialectical behavior therapy

For borderline personality disorder: studies have shown that DBT is effective in treating borderline personality disorder (BPD) and reduces the risk of suicide in people with borderline personality disorder. One study found that after one year of treatment, more than 75% of people with borderline personality disorder no longer met the diagnostic criteria for the disease.

For suicidal behavior: Another study found that interventions that incorporated skills training as a component of treatment appeared to be more effective in reducing suicidal tendency than DBT without skills training.

For other conditions: Most research on DBT has focused on its effectiveness for people with borderline personality disorder who have suicidal and self-harming thoughts, but the method may also be an effective treatment for other conditions. other mental health problems.1 For example, research has found that this type of therapy also appears to be effective in treating PTSD, depression, and anxiety.

Things to Consider About Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Practicing certain skills can also be difficult for some people. At different stages of treatment, people explore traumatic experiences and emotional pain, which can be overwhelming.

How to Get Started with Dialectical Behavior Therapy

The best way to find out if DBT is right for you is to speak with a professional trained in the method. They will assess your symptoms, treatment history, and treatment goals to see if DBT might be right for you.

If you or a loved one could benefit from DBT, it’s important to speak with a health care provider or mental health professional trained in this approach. That said, finding DBT therapists isn’t always easy.

The directory allows you to search by state for clinicians and programs with DBT training through Behavioral Tech, LLC, or the University of Washington Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics.

You can also ask your provider, current therapist. Or other trusted mental health professional to refer you to a colleague who specializes in DBT. You can also find therapists online who offer DBT therapy.

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