Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, more commonly referred too as DBT, is a type of therapy that mental health professionals use to help give their patients the tools they need to not cope with but move forward and manage emotions that are painful. It helps them learn how to deal with conflicts within a relationship in a healthier, more productive way. This type of therapy is able to help mental health care patients by focusing on four major areas of mental and emotional health areas:
- Mindfulness: allows the patient to focus on accepting where they are in the moment and to be fully present in it.
- Distress tolerance: teaches them to work through difficult emotions instead of ignoring or running away from them
- Emotion Regulation: helps patients change the intense emotions that they exude and struggle with which cause them to have issues in their personal relationships.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness:helps a professional’s patient learn to communicate better with others so that their relationships can improve.
When DBT is Used
When this method of mental health treatment was first developed, it was primarily used for people who were suffering from a borderline personality disorder. However, with modern techniques, it also helps people who suffer from mental illnesses like depression, bulimia, bipolar, PTSD, and substance abuse. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy can help people with mental illnesses like this to regulate their emotions, and learn to get through difficult moments and to be present in each moment so that they can have effective, meaningful relationships and moments in their day without their mental disabilities holding them back.
What to Expect With DBT
The first step to getting help with your mental health issues is admitting to yourself that you need help, and realizing that getting help is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Just as people go to the doctor when they are physically sick and no one patronizes them for that, the same applies to receiving help for your mental illness. When you are sick mentally and seek out treatment, you are working on bettering yourself.
When you begin treatment, the first thing you should expect is to meet one-on-one with a trained counselor. They are usually individual therapy sessions when you first start therapy, and as you become more comfortable in your sessions and begin to make progress, there are also sessions in which you will join groups and work through things with other people who are going through the same things.
With individual Dialectical Behavioral Therapy sessions, you will be working with an experienced, licensed therapist who knows your exact needs that need to be addressed. The therapist that you work with you on an individual basis to make sure that you are consistently encouraged and that you have the skills you need to make it through your life every day. When obstacles come up, as they are bound to do, the newfound skills that you take away from your one-on-one therapy sessions will help you deal with them, and solve conflicts that otherwise would have damaged your mental stability.
Once you make a good deal of progress in your individual therapy sessions, you may be ready to take on group therapy sessions. When you begin these sessions, you will have other people who need emotional and mental help right beside you. Together, you all learn new skills on how to cope with conflict, and you will be able to try your new skills out with one another. Much like other group sessions, DBT group therapy sessions encourage you and the other members to share your individual experiences and what you struggle with so that you can all provide one another a strong support system.
The group therapy sessions are led by therapists who are trained in dialectical behavioral therapy. They teach the groups new skills and exercises that they can do together. After each group therapy session, the members of the groups are given things to work on until the next session such as practical skills and exercises they learned and work on finding ways to use those new skills when real-world conflicts arise.
How Does DBT Work
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy was first created in 1980 be Doctor Marsha Linehan to help diagnose and treat people with BPD. People with this diagnosis had a notoriously hard time with controlling the intense, overwhelming bad emotions that they experienced. Because of the difficult emotions that they experienced, it often made it very difficult for them to interact with people and communicate properly with people in their lives such as their friends, significant others, family members, etc.
As time went on and the therapy got more advanced, therapists began looking for ways to work with their patients and help them find ways to have two perspectives within their minds at one time in a balanced way- so that they saw gray instead of seeing black and white. Dialectical behavioral therapy works to create a both-and instead of an either-or outlook on things. It teaches people how to accept what they are going through, and change what they can so that their lives can get more balanced as time goes on.
This type of therapy requires a treatment plan that works with a patient’s behavior as well as their experienced that may have brought them there. The important thing to look for is a licensed professional that has special training and experience in this type of therapy specifically. In fact, there are certifications that are developed for this therapy method in particular. Along with them meeting qualifications, it is important to meet with therapists so you can find one who you are comfortable with and feel as though they listen to you and what you need. Our team of trained professionals will help get you the treatment for individualized needs.