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Dialectial Behavior Therapy

Dialectial Behavior TherapyDBT has steadily gained a following and reputation since its debut in the early 1990s. Over the last decade, dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, has exploded in popularity and effectiveness. Many rehabilitation centers offer DBT as part of their treatment programs. Furthermore, several of the most effective psychotherapeutic techniques include these potentially life-saving technique components. Dialectical therapy services may be essential to your recovery for various reasons.

What Are Dialectical Therapy Services?

Dialectical behavioral therapy was created by Marsha Linehan to assist individuals with borderline personality disorder, also known as BPD. A borderline personality disorder is a difficult mental condition that inhibits people from controlling their emotions, coping with pain, tolerating abandonment, and avoiding manipulating others. Many individuals with BPD had spent their lives futilely pursuing treatments that didn’t work before DBT came along. When DBT arrived on the scene, it changed everything.
Therapists have started utilizing DBT to treat additional problems in recent years. Depression, anxiety, and personality disorders are among the issues that may be treated with DBT. People who suffer from concurrent mental health issues and substance abuse

How Does Dialectical Therapy in Rehab Work?

How do dialectical therapy and rehab work together? One of DBT’s many strengths is that it’s extremely formulaic. This makes it relatively easy to track progress and ensure the therapy is used correctly.
A DBT therapist offers help in a validating, judgment-free context that makes it easier to express yourself. There are four distinct components to the therapy itself:

  • Individual therapy occurs at least once per week – Through individual counseling, therapists address self-injuring behaviors. From there, the team targets behaviors that interfere with therapy, such as lying or skipping sessions. Finally, individual therapy focuses on improving quality of life using specific exercises to promote distress tolerance, encourage self-soothing, and teach healthy emotional and social skills.
  • Group therapy, which usually occurs once or twice a week – During group therapy, which typically lasts several hours, group members discuss and work to cultivate four key skills: mindfulness, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance.
  • Therapist consultation – Working with people in DBT is exhausting and challenging work. Most DBT therapists meet with other DBT practitioners to discuss their work and solicit feedback at least once per week.
  • As-needed coaching – This coaching usually occurs over the phone, but in the context of rehab, it may take place in person. Brief coaching sessions help patients implement skills specific to common challenges. For example, a woman struggling with a breakup may seek phone coaching when she’s tempted to harm herself in an attempt to regain the attention of her former lover.

DBT aims to teach people with BDD to identify and understand their feelings rather than mask them or escape reality. It’s also similar to other mindfulness-based therapies in that it focuses on recognizing and analyzing emotions without getting caught up in them.

Is a Dialectical Behavior Treatment Program Right for Me?

Dialectical behavioral therapy has been extensively researched, and thousands of patients have shown positive results. This is true even if other therapies have failed. DBT, like all treatments, is not appropriate for everyone. It performs best on individuals who have difficulty regulating their emotions and social abilities.
This implies that your diagnosis isn’t the most essential aspect. It would help if you also thought about how your condition affects your day-to-day activities. A person with depression may be sad, making her unsuitable for DBT. However, a person whose depression drives him to lash out at others, seek emotional support, or tell lies might be well-suited to DBT.
Is a dialectical behavior treatment program the best option for you? Consult with your therapist about integrating DBT into your existing therapy. Even if it doesn’t work for you, the therapy is entirely safe and will not impede your progress.

Choosing a Therapist for DBT

If you pursue DBT, be sure to request a therapist who has specifically trained in its use. Why? As the therapy has increased in popularity, the number of therapists who administer it without formal training has also risen. If you’re seeking a therapist on your own, be sure to ask plenty of questions. A good therapist will be happy to provide you with timely answers. Some questions to get you started include:

  • What specific training do you have in DBT?
  • How long have you practiced? How long have you offered DBT?
  • Do you use DBT purely, or do you blend DBT with other methods?
  • Am I a good candidate for DBT?
  • If DBT doesn’t work, what will we try next?
  • How can I track my progress?
  • How often will I need to come to therapy?
  • Do you develop a personalized treatment plan for each patient, and what can I expect from treatment?
  • Are you licensed to practice? In what state?
  • Have you ever been disciplined by an oversight board?

Remember, therapy is designed to help you get results as quickly as possible. Stick with it, and you may be surprised by the improvements you experience. If you don’t see improvements, though, don’t be afraid to pursue a different approach or try a new therapist.

Get Information on a DBT Program at Northpoint Seattle

Are you or someone you know looking for a DBT program? Northpoint Seattle has specialists on staff who can help. We provide a comprehensive range of substance abuse treatments in our full package of services. Our personalized solutions allow you to address all aspects of your mental health, not just addiction. To learn more about our many programs, give us a call now at 425.414.3530.