Dialectical behavior therapy is a type of a cognitive-behavioral therapy. Developed in the late 1980s to treat borderline personality disorder, DBT is especially useful in treating addiction and substance abuse, as well as a variety of co-occurring mental health conditions — such as depression, anxiety, anger management, and eating disorders, as well as trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder.
DBT works on the premise that everything is made up of opposites. The goal becomes to dismantle types of thinking that are all-or-nothing, black-and-white, and replace them with an approach that allows two opposites to be true at the same time. By allowing opposing forces to coexist, it’s possible to achieve greater balance, and make room for both change and acceptance.
Our clinical team uses DBT as a tool for substance abuse treatment in both individual and group therapy. You and your therapist will work one-on-one to explore, learn, and apply the principles of DBT to your life. Then, in a small group setting, you’ll see how DBT can help with interpersonal relationships. The more you use the skills of dialectical behavior therapy, the more natural they’ll be — so you can put them to work in recovery, and in other areas of your life, as well.
Mindfulness: You’ll learn how to use your senses to stay “in the moment” — grounded in what’s happening in and around you. This sense of awareness keeps you in the present, and helps you to maintain your wellbeing.
Distress tolerance: Unfortunately, distressing emotions like anger and anxiety are just a fact of life. But they don’t have to take over — and you don’t have to hide from them by turning to substances or other behaviors. With DBT, you learn how to deal with distress head on.
Emotional regulation: Many people with substance abuse problems struggle to navigate their emotions in a healthy way. Through dialectical behavior therapy, you’ll start by figuring out what you’re feeling and identify it, or give it a name. Then, you can address or even change those emotions if they’re counterproductive. In other words, you’re in charge of your emotions; they don’t control you.
Interpersonal effectiveness: It’s not unusual for people in recovery to have had considerable conflict in their relationships. DBT helps you to construct healthy relationships while allowing you to assert and respect yourself.
Our behavioral health team has extensive experience with dialectical behavior therapy, and has put it to work for many people in early recovery. When we get to know you and develop your individualized recovery plan, we’ll talk about the various types of therapy we offer, and find the combination that will be most helpful to you. If you’d like to learn more about how DBT can make a difference for you, just give us a call! We’d be happy to discuss the options available for you.