Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Here’s What You Need to Know

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Dialectical behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on helping individuals deal with their negative emotions and stress. It has been shown to improve relationships with family and friends. Initially developed to treat suicidal behavior, this type of therapy is increasingly used to treat a variety of mental disorders, including addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a disease. This type of treatment teaches individuals to control their emotions and learn to live a happy life.

Dialectical behavior therapy combines individual therapy approaches to help people overcome their problems. It is often used in combination with other forms of psychotherapy to address issues related to addiction or mental illness. It focuses on the concept of opposing forces and teaches patients new coping mechanisms that can help them deal with their negative emotions. The goal is to encourage acceptance of a person’s experience, while simultaneously working to change negative behaviors.

What is the “D” in DBT?

According to the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics (BRTC) at the University of Washington, “The term ‘dialectical’ means a synthesis or integration of opposites. The primary dialectic within DBT is between the seemingly opposite strategies of acceptance and change.” A therapist specializing in this treatment modality accepts clients as they are while also recognizing that they need to change to reach their goals. DBT can be taught in a group format, individually, or even by phone, with each session designed to teach behavioral skills that patients can apply in their everyday lives. This therapy puts the focus on decreasing conflict in relationships, improving mindfulness, and developing the right tools to deal with emotional highs and lows. It helps patients stabilize themselves and develop life-long skills to deal with painful emotions. 

What Behaviors Can DBT Target?

The BRTC states that patients who receive DBT typically have multiple problems that require help. The modality uses a hierarchy of treatment targets to help determine the order the issues need to be addressed. They include: 

  • Life-threatening behaviors including suicidal ideation, suicidal communications, and all forms of suicidal and non-suicidal self-injury.
  • Behaviors that interfere with therapy, such as being late to sessions or canceling appointments. 
  • Quality of life behaviors that interferes with the patient’s daily life, such as financial issues, other disorders, or relationship problems.
  • Skills acquisition where clients learn new skillful behaviors to replace ineffective ones.

Dialectical behavioral therapy can be used to treat a variety of conditions. Many people considers 12 step program for addiction, but it has its own importance. Dialectical therapy can improve a person’s ability to deal with a crisis and improve their relationships. Marsha Linehan developed this type of psychotherapy to address the problems of chronic suicidal ideation and self-injury. Despite its controversial origins, it has proved to be highly effective at reducing suffering. And it is helpful for many people experiencing non-life threatening pain.

Dialectical behavioral therapy uses cognitive behavioral techniques to change a person’s thought patterns and behavior. No matter it is inpatient or outpatient treatment, it can also improve relationships and help people deal with depression and anxiety. Designed for people with addiction and mental disorders, dialectical behavioral therapy can help those with depression and anxiety overcome these conditions. Although it is difficult for patients to get over these negative feelings and behaviors, the benefits of this therapy can last a lifetime. It is a valuable tool for improving your relationships and overcoming your fears and depressive symptoms.

The Four Skill Modules

The four modules in DBT involves two acceptance-oriented skills and two change-oriented skills. These four skills are taught by our professional staff at Silver Lining Recovery and include:

  • Zen Mindfulness: the practice of being fully aware and present in the NOW.
  • Distress and Anxiety Tolerance: how to tolerate pain and accept challenging situations, and not change them.
  • Efficacy of Interpersonal Communication: helps individuals to become assertive in all relationships while maintaining self-respect and positive relationships with others. Learning to say no is an integral part of this process.
  • Emotion Regulation: learning how to decrease vulnerability to painful emotions and change emotions that you want to change.

Is DBT Right for Me?

Dialectical behavioral therapy helps people cope with negative emotions. Whether someone is looking for emdr trauma therapy, or any other treatment, it works by increasing a person’s capability and decreasing negative behaviors. The National Center for Biotechnology Information describes the primary areas treated with dialectical behavior therapy. The five functions include: enhancing an individual’s capabilities, reducing their negative behaviors, and creating an environment conducive to the healing process.

With the help of our compassionate, professionally trained staff, with more than 30 years of experience combined, we can customize an addiction treatment plan designed for your unique needs, especially for those dealing with co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. If you or a loved one is ready to enter an addiction program, call us at Silver Lining Recovery (866) 448-4563. We are here to support you because we understand the first step to recovery requires courage.