Do you feel your mind is being pulled in a hundred different directions at once? Do you have a hard time handling some of your emotions, and does this cause any problems in your relationships?
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) offers individuals comprehensive skills to manage painful memories and emotions and decrease conflicts in their relationships. This modality focuses on 4 specific areas of therapeutic skills. These are:
- Mindfulness – Helps individuals be present in the current moment.
- Distress tolerance – Most people try and keep themselves safe from all negative emotions. Distress tolerance is geared toward increasing a person’s tolerance of negative emotions.
- Emotion regulation – Offers strategies to manage intense emotions that are the root cause of problems in a person’s life.
- Interpersonal effectiveness – These techniques allow an individual to communicate with others in a confident, assertive way that maintains self-respect and strengthens relationships.
How Does it Work Exactly?
Many of us live our daily lives with a constant stream of uncontrollable negative emotions right under our awareness. These emotions affect how we feel about ourselves and how we interact with other people, including friends, romantic partners, and family members.
DBT essentially works with individuals to help them find ways to manage their negative emotions so they can feel balanced, in control, and able to interact respectfully and successfully. The message at the heart of DBT is acceptance and change.
When is DBT Used and What Can You Expect?
While dialectical behavioral therapy was initially developed to treat those with borderline personality disorder, research has since shown that DBT can successfully treat people with depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, eating disorders, and substance abuse.
DBT treatment usually consists of a combination of DBT skills groups and individual therapy sessions. The individual therapy sessions allow you to have one-on-one contact with a trained therapist who will help you apply DBT skills to your daily life, address any obstacle that may arise, and keep you motivated! The DBT skills group interactions will help you practice skills with others and offer mutual support.
Finding a DBT Therapist
If you are interested in exploring DBT therapy, you should look for a therapist with specialized training and experience in DBT strategies. The Linehan Board of Certification is a non-profit organization that has developed certification standards for DBT clinicians. It’s also important that you look for someone you feel comfortable with.
If you or someone you know may benefit from dialectic behavioral therapy, please get in touch with me. I would be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.