What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Mar 14, 2023
What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy? How can it help?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy 101:

What it is and How it Can Help You Overcome Challenges

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the late 1980s. It is used to help people who struggle with emotions that are intense and difficult to control, including anger, depression, and anxiety. DBT has been found to be an effective treatment for numerous mental health disorders, and it can be used to help people overcome a variety of challenges. In this blog post, we will explore the basics of dialectical behavior therapy, what it is and how it can help you to overcome challenges.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of psychotherapy that is based on the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and it focuses on the identification and modification of dysfunctional behaviors. The goal of DBT is to help individuals improve their relationships with themselves and others, regulate their emotions, and develop healthier coping strategies.

DBT can be used to treat a range of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, self-harm, borderline personality disorder, and eating disorders. The focus of DBT is not only on helping individuals learn new skills but also on helping them apply these skills to real-life situations. Through the implementation of individual and group therapy sessions, as well as homework assignments and coaching, individuals can learn how to use their newly acquired skills to tackle real-world problems. DBT skills training is separate from individual therapy, and it is where people learn the skills, this can happen in group therapy or in skills training courses. 

Overall, DBT is a powerful and evidence-based treatment that can help individuals struggling with mental health issues make significant changes in their lives. By learning how to identify and regulate their emotions, increase mindfulness, tolerate distress, and interact more effectively with others, individuals can gain more control over their lives and find greater peace and contentment.


The Four Main Principles of DBT

The four main principles of DBT include:
1. Mindfulness: This refers to the practice of being present in the moment and paying attention to one’s thoughts, feelings, and environment. In DBT, mindfulness allows individuals to become more aware of how they are responding to their inner dialogue and outside stressors.
2. Distress Tolerance: This refers to the ability to tolerate distress in order to avoid engaging in maladaptive behavior. Through DBT, individuals learn to accept themselves and their situations, even in difficult times, so that they can effectively cope with and respond to challenges without resorting to unhealthy behaviors.
3. Emotional Regulation: This refers to the practice of recognizing, understanding, and controlling one’s emotional reactions. Through DBT, individuals learn techniques for managing their emotions so that they can move on from negative thoughts and experiences in a healthy way.
4. Interpersonal Effectiveness: This refers to the ability to build and maintain healthy relationships with others. In DBT, individuals learn effective communication skills as well as assertiveness techniques to help them build stronger relationships with loved ones and resolve conflicts in a respectful manner.


How DBT Can Help You Overcome Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, and Other Mental Health Conditions.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that has been proven to help individuals with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health issues. It is a cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on helping people learn new skills to better manage their emotions, develop healthy coping strategies, and become more mindful.

At its core, DBT is focused on changing the negative thinking patterns and behaviors that can lead to mental health struggles. This type of therapy is designed to help people better manage overwhelming emotions, improve relationships, and increase their overall sense of well-being. It helps individuals become more aware of their feelings and thoughts and teaches them how to respond in healthy ways.

With DBT, the therapist will work with you to identify any negative thought patterns or behaviors that may be contributing to your mental health struggles. From there, they will create a personalized treatment plan with specific goals that you’ll work towards together. You’ll also learn various skills such as mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. These skills will help you learn how to better cope with life’s difficulties, recognize triggers for unhealthy behavior, and manage difficult emotions in healthier ways.

Overall, DBT has been found to be an effective form of therapy for those struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health issues. It can help you gain insight into your thoughts and behaviors and provide you with the skills to better manage your mental health. With the help of a trained therapist, DBT can be a powerful tool for lasting recovery. 

I offer a DBT course to help you learn 35 of the core DBT skills. This course is not therapy, as the course is only for learning the skills. You do not need to learn the skills only in therapy, skills training can easily happen in a focused online course. 

Finding a DBT Therapist

When considering Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) as an option for treating mental health issues, one of the most important steps is to find a therapist who is certified in DBT. As with any type of therapy, having a qualified and knowledgeable practitioner is key to having a successful experience.
There are several ways to find a DBT therapist in your area. You can search for local practitioners on various websites, such as Psychology Today and the International Society for DBT. It's also possible to ask your primary care physician or mental health provider for referrals. Additionally, many universities and medical centers offer DBT treatment programs and have licensed DBT practitioners on staff.
When evaluating potential therapists, it's important to ensure they have completed specialized training in DBT and have experience providing this type of therapy. Furthermore, make sure you feel comfortable talking with them and feel that they are a good fit for you personally. It's also essential to discuss insurance coverage before beginning therapy.

Finding the right DBT therapist can be a challenge, but with some patience and research, you can find the right fit. Once you've identified the right therapist, you can take the next step toward improving your mental health through Dialectical Behavior Therapy. If you're looking for a qualified DBT therapist, I am trained in the methodology. I offer free 15-minute consultations, so don't hesitate to reach out today. Together, we can explore how Dialectical Behavior Therapy can help you overcome the challenges you're facing.

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