If you are looking for different forms of addiction treatment, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) may help. Here is a guide on everything to know about DBT.
Keyword(s): dialectical behavioral therapy
It’s important to be on your best behavior. But some of us need help in adjusting our thoughts and actions.
Therapy provides strategies for people to tackle their problems. There is no one-size-fits-all therapy, one treatment that helps absolutely everyone. But dialectical behavioral therapy has proved versatile for many different problems.
Yet most people have never heard of DBT. If you are considering a treatment plan, you should keep DBT in mind. Here is a beginner’s guide to dialectical behavioral therapy.
The Basics of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
DBT is relatively new, but it has skyrocketed in popularity. Marsha Linehan developed DBT in the 1980s, as a treatment for borderline personality disorder.
DBT is a variant of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people identify and change disturbing thought patterns. DBT supplements CBT with group and phone coaching sessions that help individual patients.
Dr. Linehan based DBT on three principles. The first was that all things are interconnected. Every thought relates to another thought, every action relates to an action, and every action relates to a thought.
The second was that change is constant. People and places will change, and we must adjust to those changes.
The third was that people can weave opposites together. Nothing exists in black-and-white. People can look at two sides of an issue, and they can find the truth through their observations.
DBT also incorporates validation. Therapists tell a patient that their thoughts and actions make sense within their personal experience. They then work with patients on strategies to make better choices.
How DBT Works
DBT teaches skills to patients. DBT uses personal sessions, in which patients have conversations with therapists one-on-one. DBT also incorporates group sessions, in which patients learn skills alongside other patients.
A patient learns several skills in DBT. They train themselves to be mindful. Patients ground themselves in the present moment, focusing on current sensations.
They learn to look within, paying attention to their own thoughts and feelings. They also learn to use their senses, tuning into the world around them. They perform mindfulness through meditation and other personal therapies.
Patients learn distress tolerance skills. They learn how to distract themselves, but also how to improve the current moment. They learn about how to soothe themselves, focusing on positive thoughts.
Patients learn how to be interpersonal. They learn how to be gentle while expressing interest in others. They validate another person’s thoughts and maintain an easy attitude in conversation.
Patients also learn how to regulate their emotions. They learn to recognize anger, sadness, and other negative feelings. Then they learn how to cope with their feelings so they increase positive emotions.
Using dialectical thinking involves viewing issues from multiple perspectives. Patients learn how to debate and interact with others who disagree with them. They evaluate evidence, crafting compromises amongst different parties.
Patients perform roleplays, fill out worksheets, and talk to people over the phone. They perform what they learn twenty-four hours a day, creating an all-inclusive regimen for themselves.
DBT Treatment Options
Research on DBT has focused on its effectiveness for borderline personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder is marked through varying moods that lead a person to avoid people. Studies have found that DBT works for people with BPD because DBT trains people to work through their moods.
But DBT is also an option for people with other conditions. DBT is often used in the treatment of eating disorders.
DBT allows patients to focus on their own condition, disregarding the thoughts of others. Mindfulness training allows patients to focus on the sensations of eating, avoiding anxieties of weight gain that can feed anorexia.
DBT also helps patients with addiction. They learn about the triggers that sparked their drug use. Then they develop strategies to avoid those triggers.
A person can pursue DBT treatments for multiple conditions. Patients work with their doctors to develop the best plans for them.
Doctors validate their patients, asking them to research and decide on treatments they prefer. Doctors then follow their patients’ requests.
Treatment options encompass a wide spectrum of services. Patients can pursue holistic therapies like yoga, meditation, and art therapy. Patients can also take medications.
Patients can stay in a specialized clinic. Doctors and staffers meet their basic needs, allowing them to focus on the treatments they are receiving. They can meet new people and develop new connections based on improving themselves.
Once they leave the clinic, patients can then live in a transitional facility. They live with others to practice their dialectical skills in better detail. They develop more strategies to treat their addiction in their old world.
Talk to a psychiatrist and physician before pursuing a treatment plan for you. You can get help confidentially. Reach out to an online community, or call a helpline.
Get the Help You Deserve
Our behaviors influence who we are and how we interact with people. Dialectical behavioral therapy trains people to develop self-worth and interpersonal skills.
DBT teaches patients that everything is interconnected and that change is constant. A person needs to embrace change and learn skills to interact with the broader world.
DBT builds skills in group and individual settings. Patients learn how to be mindful, tolerant, and interpersonal. They carry out these skills at home and within the clinic.
DBT can treat a wide variety of conditions, including addiction. Any individual has many treatment options to pursue.
Get the help that you deserve. The Ohana is a world-class intensive outpatient center, treating patients with measures like DBT. Contact us today, or call us at 877-664-2622.