DIALECTICAL BEHAVIORAL THERAPY
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Marsha Linehan, a psychologist at the University of Washington, originally developed DBT in the 1980s. Although initially intended to help chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, DBT has since been adapted for and used to effectively treat a number of other psychological problems. The central dialectic within DBT is to balance acceptance of the person exactly as s/he is in this moment with intense efforts to change the person’s life to increase adaptive functioning and decrease maladaptive behavior. The overarching goal of treatment with DBT is to help individuals develop, as Dr. Linehan would say, “a life worth living.”
Interested in the positive change DBT can have on your life? Make an appointment and match with a DBT specialist today.
What Can Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Help With?
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is especially effective for people who have difficulty managing and regulating their emotions.
Though developed with BPD in mind, has proven to be effective for treating and managing a wide range of mental health conditions, including:
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- Eating disorders (such as anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and bulimia nervosa)
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Major depressive disorder (including treatment-resistant major depression and chronic depression)
- Non-suicidal self-injury
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Substance use disorder
- Suicidal behavior
It’s important to note that the reason DBT has proved effective for treating these conditions is that each of these conditions is thought to be associated with issues that result from unhealthy or problematic efforts to control intense, negative emotions. Rather than depending on efforts that cause problems for the person, DBT helps people learn healthier ways to cope.
Benefits of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
In DBT, the patient and therapist work to resolve the apparent contradiction between self-acceptance and change to bring about positive changes in the individual in treatment. Part of this process involves offering validation, which helps people become more likely to cooperate and less likely to experience distress at the idea of change.
In practice, the therapist validates that an individual’s actions “make sense” within the context of their personal experiences without necessarily agreeing that the actions are the best approach to solving a problem.
Each therapeutic setting has its own structure and goals, but the characteristics of DBT can be found in group skills training and individual psychotherapy.
- Acceptance and change: Patients learn strategies to accept and tolerate life circumstances, emotions, and themselves. They will also develop skills that can help make positive changes in their behaviors and interactions with others.
- Behavioral: Patients will learn to analyze problems or destructive behavior patterns and replace them with more healthy and effective ones.
- Cognitive: Patients will focus on changing thoughts and beliefs that are not effective or helpful.
- Collaboration: Patients will learn to communicate effectively and work together as a team (therapist, group therapist, psychiatrist).
- Skill sets: Patients will learn new skills to enhance their capabilities.
- Support: Patients will be encouraged to recognize positive strengths and attributes and develop and use them.
How to Get Started With Dialectical Behavior Therapy
The best way to find out if DBT is right for you is to ask your provider, current therapist, or another trusted mental health professional to refer you to a colleague who specializes in DBT. You may also find online therapists who offer DBT therapy. A professional who is trained in the method will evaluate your symptoms, treatment history, and therapy goals to see if DBT might be a good fit.
Schedule an Appointment
At Healing Minds, we have therapists that can help you deal with difficult times and mental health issues using DBT. Working with a therapist can make the difference you need to step towards a full, whole life once again.
Please reach out to schedule a therapy appointment with a trained practitioner. We offer in person or Telehealth therapy from the comfort of your own home.
When You’re Ready, We’re Here
Call for an appointment or fill out our contact form. We’ll send you information to help you start your journey. We accept most major insurances.