Have you ever wondered if dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is suitable for you or a loved one? Usually administered as a treatment for patients with borderline personality disorder, dialectical behavior therapy can be highly effective for patients suffering from mental health concerns, such as self-harm, depression, and eating disorders.
The main goal of dialectical behavior therapy is to help people learn how to live in the moment and develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress. This helps individuals regulate their emotions more easily and can even show improvement in their relationships and life performance.
What Is DBT?
The term “dialectical” communicates the idea of combining two opposites of traditional therapy; acceptance and change. By blending these different approaches, it is believed that better results can be achieved by focusing on accepting one’s experiences. As a result, this opens the door for them to be reassured by the DBT therapist. This is followed up with the change work needed to terminate negative thinking and behavioral habits.
DBT aims to help individuals identify their negative thinking patterns and change them to positive ones. Also known as “talking therapy,” this type of therapy can occur in group sessions, privately with a therapist, or over the phone with someone who specializes in this field.
Blending this multi-week approach with mindfulness, the patient will learn how to gain the essential processing functional skills of emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance.
Under dialectal behavior therapy, patients learn how to recognize and handle initial emotional reactions before they change into regrettable reactions.
Distress tolerance skills include learning how to distract yourself until you can calmly handle what one is facing, self-soothing techniques, and heightened sensory awareness to help you relax.
Learning to understand how you’re feeling and what you desire helps enhance personal relationships. Patients will learn better listening, social skills, and how to be gently assertive.
Dialectical behavioral therapy is ideal for patients who may be difficult to treat or at high risk. Patients given multiple diagnoses are also a good fit for DBT. DBT is also suitable for individuals who experience intense bursts of emotion that shift rapidly or display acute anger or aggression.
How Does DBT Compare To Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Professionals consider DBT to be a modified version of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). DBT adapts specifically to treat those who suffer severely intense emotional states. DBT’s emphasis is on emotional modulation and interpersonal relationships.
The intention behind the practice and training of DBT is to help the person live more authentically in the moment. This also helps increase the person’s awareness of what’s happening in their body. During triggers of intense emotions, DBT teaches patients how to slow down. The patient learns to focus on what their physical, mental, and emotional reactions are to any given circumstance.
Instead of automatically reacting negatively to questions about how someone is thinking or feeling, they learn the tools and skills to help them focus on more healthy coping habits, even amid intense pain or emotion.
How Well Does DBT Work?
According to the National Library of Medicine, a randomized clinical study found that DBT patients saw a significant reduction in suicide attempts and behaviors, psychiatric hospitalization, and emergency room visits.
Patients who received DBT treatment resulted in fewer suicide attempts, less deliberate self-harm, and fewer inpatient days. As a result, global mental health problems occurred less. These studies examined DBT for women with bipolar disorder in community or group settings, such as care facilities and veteran hospitals.
Healing Foundations Center’s DBT and Psychotherapy Programs
At Healing Foundations Center, we take a customized approach to each patient. We use techniques to address emotions, thoughts, and behaviors which contribute to unhealthy behavior habits. For instance, depression, anxiety, and complex trauma. Dialectal behavior therapy can be an effective way to help you or a loved one find systematic healing.
For more information on DBT, or to schedule a confidential assessment, reach out to the professionals at Healing Foundations Center today.