Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that has been modified. It teaches people how to live in the moment, healthily cope with stress, manage their emotions, and improve their relationships with others.
It was first created for those suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). In addition to treating BPD, DBT has also been adapted to treat other mental disorders. People with emotional regulation issues, like PTSD, or self-destructive behaviors, such as eating disorders and substance abuse disorders, may benefit from this type of therapy.
DBT is an evidence-based psychotherapy approach that is used to treat a variety of conditions. This includes, but is not limited to:
DBT employs lots of strategies and techniques.
The development of mindfulness skills is one of the benefits of DBT. The ability to be mindful allows you to pay attention to any changes within you (your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and impulses), as well as what’s going on around you (what you see, hear, smell, and touch) in a nonjudgmental manner.
Mindfulness can help you cope with emotional pain by slowing down and focusing on healthy coping skills. You can also use the strategy to stay calm and avoid impulsive behavior and automatic negativity.
You can develop stress tolerance skills by accepting yourself and your current situation. Dialectical behavior therapy teaches several techniques for handling crises, such as:
With stress tolerance techniques, you will cope with intense emotions in a more positive, long-term manner.
Having interpersonal effectiveness improves your ability to express your needs (for example, saying “no”) while maintaining a positive and healthy relationship. The skills you will develop will include listening and communicating effectively, handling challenging people, and respecting yourself and others.
With emotional regulation, you can manage powerful feelings more effectively. Identifying, naming, and changing your emotions is possible with the skills you learn.
In addition to reducing your vulnerability, you will also have more positive emotional experiences when you can recognize and cope with intense negative emotions (for example, anger).
When Dr. Marsha Linehan and colleagues found that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) alone did not work well for patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD), they developed dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Adding techniques and developing new treatments for these individuals, Dr. Linehan developed a treatment tailored to their needs.
In addition to BPD, DBT may also be effective in treating:
In DBT, patients and therapists work together to resolve the apparent contradiction between self-acceptance and change to change the individual during treatment positively. Offering validation is a part of this process, which gives people a better chance of cooperating and reducing their risk of feeling distressed about the idea of change.
Therapists validate that an individual’s actions are “sense-making” inside the context of their own experiences but don’t always agree that the actions are the best solution.
The characteristics of DBT can be seen in group skills training, individual therapy, and phone coaching, but each therapeutic setting has its structure and goals.
You will change the thoughts and beliefs that aren’t effective or helpful.
Your capabilities will be enhanced as you learn new skills.
Our goal is to help you recognize and utilize your positive strengths and attributes.
This therapy method allows people to better understand and manage their emotions in a way that is effective because it helps them improve their coping skills. Additionally, DBT has been proven effective regardless of age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or race/ethnicity.
Among cognitive behavioral therapy’s most significant benefits are that it helps clients develop coping skills for now and in the future.
DBT effectively treats borderline personality disorder (BPD) and reduces suicide risk among people with BPD. According to one study, more than 75% of those with BPD no longer met the diagnostic criteria for the disorder after one year of treatment.
In another study, interventions that incorporated skills training as a component of treatment reduced suicidality more effectively than DBT without skills training.
Researchers have mainly investigated the effectiveness of DBT for people with borderline personality disorder who have thoughts of suicide and self-harm. Still, the approach may also be successful for people with other mental health conditions. Researchers have found that this type of therapy effectively treats PTSD, anxiety, and depression, for example.
Furthermore, research suggests that DBT may also help treat children with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.
The DBT process requires a lot of time. Apart from regular therapy sessions, individuals, groups, and phone counseling sessions also involve “homework” to improve skills. Some people may find it challenging to stay on top of these assignments regularly.
Some people may find practicing some of the skills challenging as well. People will likely have to confront traumatic experiences and emotional pain at different stages of treatment, which can be upsetting.
You should speak with a professional trained in DBT if you are interested in learning if it is right for you. To determine if DBT might suit you, your therapist will review your symptoms, treatment history, and therapy goals.
If you or someone you love may benefit from DBT, you should seek the help of a mental health professional or healthcare provider trained in the approach. However, DBT therapists are not always easy to find.
Here at Enhance Health Group, we have a trained staff dedicated to helping you or your loved ones get through any struggle that there may be. Contact us today to learn about our program and how we can help you by incorporating DBT into our treatment plans.