Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, abbreviated as DBT, is an in-depth cognitive behavioral treatment created by Marsha Linehan, PhD, ABPP. DBT emphasizes different psychotherapy sessions, group skills training classes and one-on-one discussion to help individuals learn new skills. Normally, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy helps these individuals apply new skills and strategies to their lifestyles, creating a healthier, addiction-free lifestyle. While Dialectical Behavioral Therapy can vary from program to program, it always includes skills which focus on enhancing the following:
- Emotional regulation
- Distress tolerance
- Interpersonal effectiveness
Why was Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Developed?
At first, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy was used to assist chronically suicidal individuals. These patients, often, were previously diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Today, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is recognized as a gold-standard psychological treatment for individuals suffering from BPD. Meanwhile, other research supports the use of dialectical therapy in the treatment of other disorders, such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Substance dependence
- Eating disorders
Dialectical therapy, primarily, serves as a foundation for creating a meaningful, healthy lifestyle. Because dialectical behavior therapy techniques require both a client and therapist to work together, client-therapist relationships often hold a lot of importance. In most cases, both parties work to decrease the client’s harmful addictive tendencies—replacing them with life-enhancing behaviors.
Of course, these dialectical behavioral therapy techniques don’t come easily. Dialectical behavioral treatment, for this reason, spans across several components and treatment modes. Each dialectical behavior treatment option might differ from its siblings, but each holds a vital “piece” of the recovery puzzle.
The Functions of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
First, a dialectical behavior therapy center will help its patients with basic DBT skills training. These exercises focus on enhancing a client’s mental stamina, mental capabilities and emotional stability. Skills training, frequently, is taught in a group atmosphere. A training group may have a class-like feel to it. Others, meanwhile, may promote collaborative teaching. Many of these classes have pre-assigned group leaders, however, who assign homework, teach skills and promote environments conducive to better lifestyles.
Where homework is considered, most assignments help clients practice skills they can use in their everyday lives. Most groups meet, every week, for roughly three hours. In turn, most Dialectical Behavioral Therapy classes require 24 weeks to teach an entire curriculum.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy also offers telephone-based coaching to offer in-the-moment support. Because the goal of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is to offer an always-on support experience, it’s important that clients have continuous accessibility to therapy sessions, coaching sessions and emergency assistance.
Most workshops and classes serve to enhance each client’s motivation. In doing so, class leaders can help their students apply their learned skills to highly specific situations—helping them overcome addictive tendencies, and even relapse. In most Dialectical Behavioral Therapy teaching models, individual therapy is required—once per week—to enhance the individual’s motivation.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy class leaders also utilize case management strategies to help each client apply their mental tools in real life. Case management covers the individual’s client physical, social and emotional environments. Then, these environments are “broken down,” and the therapist applies different forms of validation, dialectical and problem-solving strategies which can help each client to be their own case “manager.” In being their own manager, a client can learn to rely on themselves—rather than a therapist’s support.
Your DBT Team
Some Dialectical Behavioral Therapy programs offer constant support from a DBT team. This consultation team, assigned to each patient, includes a few people with highly effective skillsets, including:
- Individual therapists
- Case managers
- Skills training group leaders
So, each patient has a constant connection with the professionals responsible for their training. This consultation team, intended to supply constant Dialectical Behavioral Therapy feedback, also helps the professionals. In a way, a DBT team is a sort of “therapy for therapists.” This group keeps its individual members healthy, both mentally and emotionally, to assure each patient is getting the highest degree of fresh support as possible.
What to Expect with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Treatment
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, depression, anxiety or negative emotions which can be treated by DBT, you should contact a provider today. Together, your individual therapist and you will focus on motivation, applying DBT skills within your daily life. Then, obstacles will be addressed throughout treatment.
The road to addiction recovery, happiness and long-term emotional strength is a long one. While each group session may last only two hours, the benefits gained are invaluable. Discuss your options today, and see what Dialectical Behavioral Therapy has to offer.