What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Considering Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

You arrived here because you have questions about dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Maybe you came here seeking behavioral health help for yourself. Or, you might be looking to help someone close to you. No matter the circumstance, Blue Hills Recovery Center feels grateful. Thank you for reading.   Dialectical behavior therapy helps people process distressing or painful emotions. It originally developed to help people with borderline personality disorder. However, DBT has expanded from there. DBT has helped those idealizing suicide, those struggling with substance use disorder, people afflicted with binge eating disorder, and elderly persons suffering depression.   In this blog, Blue Hills Recovery Center investigates the following:  

  • What is dialectical behavior therapy?
  • Does dialectical behavior therapy help people?
  • How is DBT different from cognitive behavioral therapy?
  • Can DBT help with addiction?
  • Where can I get more information about DBT?

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

DBT’s treatment modality includes developing 4 key competencies:  

  • Mindfulness: the ability to watch what happens within you and around you, to perceive without judging
  • Distress tolerance: how to take productive action when dealing with stressful or unpleasant situations
  • Emotional regulation: learning how to turn your feelings into allies rather than enemies
  • Interpersonal skills: learning how to better understand and express yourself with other people

How Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Help People?

When you read a term like “mindfulness,” what do you think of? It seems like that word gets bandied about frequently. We live so much of our lives inside our heads. In fact, we may live there more often than do in the physical world. Mindfulness helps people by grounding them to their bodies. Psychologist Nina Cooperman implements mindfulness into her treatment plan for opioid use disorder. Mindfulness can help abate many of the automatic thoughts that lead us to addictive behaviors.  

What About Distress Tolerance? How Is It Useful?

Distress can strike at any moment. What distresses one person may not bother another at all. Nevertheless, we all have moments where life feels like too much. Distress tolerance can help us to own ourselves. Rather than the moment owning us. Distress tolerance skills help us to move into a place of accepting reality rather than resisting it.

Why Do We Need Emotional Regulation?

We do not have to listen to our emotions. The idea that we have such a choice seems impossible. But we do have a choice about what to do with our emotions. We must exercise our ability to define, understand, and articulate our emotions. Not regulating one’s emotions has ties to depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, ADHD, and more.

But My Interpersonal Skills Are Just Fine…Aren’t They?

Most of the time, we listen to other people. Or at least we think we do. Many kinds of interpersonal skills exist. But active listening remains crucial. Active listening involves remaining undistracted while someone else speaks. With active listening, we try to visualize that what someone else expresses also happens to us. We try to see the world as they see it and respond as they would respond.

How Is DBT Different From Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) have some similarities. They both intend to teach clients to evaluate their own thoughts and feelings. Both forms of therapy aim to help people break destructive and maladaptive cycles.   CBT focuses primarily on thoughts. But DBT concerns itself with emotions. CBT seeks to help us undo unhelpful patterns of thought. DBT wants to change how we relate to extreme internal sensations. By posturing ourselves in radical acceptance, we can become malleable to whatever life throws at us.  

What About DBT For Addiction?

Dialectical behavior therapy also offers hope to those suffering from substance use disorder. One study successfully linked DBT with methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) for opioid use disorder. Another study indicated a positive relationship between DBT and individuals suffering from alcohol dependence. DBT might also help in instances of co-occurring disorders, like substance abuse and eating disorders.  

How Can I Get More Information About DBT?

In this article, we perused through information about dialectical behavior therapy. We learned the 4 key elements of mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal skills. Next, we contrasted DBT with cognitive behavioral therapy. We ought not think of one approach as superior. Rather, both make capable tools that have helped (and continue to help) a lot of people.   Finally, we looked at evidence that DBT can aid people suffering from substance use disorders. It shows a great deal of promise for treating both SUD and mental illness.   If you or someone that you love struggles with substance use disorder or a mental illness, get help now. Right now, today. Do not wait any longer.   Contact Blue Hills Recovery Center now for more information.

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