Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) offers individuals the skills to manage painful memories, emotions and to decrease conflicts in their relationships. DBT focuses on improving 4 specific areas of skills:
- Mindfulness – Helps you to be fully present in the current moment.
- Distress tolerance – Working toward increasing your ability to tolerate and navigate negative emotion effectively instead of reactively.
- Emotion regulation – You will learn strategies to manage intense emotions so that they can inform your actions and not dictate them.
- Interpersonal effectiveness – You will learn techniques to improve communication with others and interact in a more confident and assertive way.
How Does it Work Exactly?
Many of us live our daily lives with a constant stream of uncontrollable negative emotions right under our awareness. These emotions affect how we feel about ourselves and how we interact with other people, including friends, romantic partners and family members.
DBT essentially works with individuals to help them find ways to manage their negative emotions so they can feel balanced, in control and able to interact respectfully and successfully. The message at the heart of DBT is acceptance and change.
When is DBT Used and What Can You Expect?
While dialectical behavioral therapy was initially developed to treat those with borderline personality disorder, research has since shown that DBT can successfully treat people with depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, eating disorders, and substance abuse.
DBT treatment usually consists of a combination of DBT skills groups and individual therapy sessions. The individual therapy sessions allow you to have one-on-one contact with a trained therapist who will help you apply DBT skills to your daily life, address any obstacle that may arise and keep you motivated! The DBT skills group interactions will help you practice skills with others and offer mutual support.
Finding a DBT Therapist
If you are interested in exploring DBT therapy, you should look for a therapist with specialized training and experience in DBT strategies. The Linehan Board of Certification is a non-profit organization that has developed certification standards for DBT clinicians. It’s also important that you look for someone you feel comfortable with.
If you or someone you know may benefits from dialectic behavioral therapy, please get in touch with me. I would be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.