What is DBT Therapy?
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment developed by Marsha Linehan to assist individuals suffering from severe emotional problems. While initially developed for those suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD), DBT has since proven beneficial in treating various mental health conditions as well.
DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) is a structured, skills-based therapy that empowers individuals to manage their emotions and build healthier relationships. It’s founded on dialectical philosophy, which stresses finding balance between opposing forces in order to find an equilibrium. With DBT, clients learn strategies tailored specifically for them in their individual situations that work.
Individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD or other mental health conditions often struggle to regulate their emotions. These feelings may manifest as unstable relationships, intense anger, extreme mood swings, impulsive or risky behavior, chronic feelings of emptiness or suicidal thoughts.
DBT’s purpose is to teach patients how to recognize and manage their emotions so that they can lead a more rewarding, meaningful life. To do this, DBT employs various cognitive behavioral techniques in order to alter problematic patterns of behavior.
Clients receiving DBT typically attend individual therapy sessions as well as group skills training. They gain knowledge about mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation.
They also learn how to apply their new skills in daily life. They practice them during therapy sessions and can call their therapist between sessions for coaching on applying them when necessary.
After addressing more serious matters, DBT therapy aims to equip patients with skills for dealing with daily difficulties that come their way. This is achieved through individual therapy, group skills training and phone coaching between sessions.
DBT helps clients create healthier interpersonal connections while altering harmful behavioral habits that have been part of their lives for some time. These may include alcohol or drug abuse, impulsive or reckless actions, as well as negative self-talk.
DBT clients are motivated to set personal goals and make progress toward them. This helps them focus on what matters most to them, leading them to feel good about their decisions.
DBT may include different elements depending on the client, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness. A therapist skilled in DBT can determine if it’s suitable for their patient and create a tailored recovery plan.
DBT is an effective treatment for BPD, but it can also benefit individuals suffering from depression, anxiety and substance use disorders. It may even be useful in helping elderly patients who have personality disorders. Studies have demonstrated that DBT reduces symptoms and enhances social adjustment for these individuals while leading to decreased hospitalizations and psychiatric emergency room visits.