Unique Advantages of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a highly effective branch of cognitive behavioral therapy, originally created to treat acutely distressing mental health issues such as borderline personality disorder and chronic suicidal ideation. Today, the goal of DBT is to change people’s unhealthy behavior and disrupted thought patterns.

What Is DBT?

The term “dialectical” stems from the concept that combining two oppositional beliefs – acceptance and change – in the therapeutic process creates better results than either belief system on its own. The idea that accepting uncomfortable beliefs, instead of fighting them, allows people to more readily embrace the concept that changing their behavior is possible.

DBT is an evidence-based therapeutic method that addresses high-risk, difficult-to-treat mental health issues that threaten people’s quality of life, such as eating disorders, depression, anxiety, dual diagnoses and feelings of hopelessness.

How Does DBT Work?

In addition to working with a counselor in regular treatment sessions, people pursuing DBT agree to do homework to hone the skills they learn in therapy. The tasks include completing daily journal entries to keep track of their emotions, cravings and self-destructive behaviors. 

The comprehensive model of DBT involves a progression through four stages.

  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness exercises teach DBT participants how to absorb, observe and process what is happening to them in the moment, on a neutral level. Mindfulness techniques include tactics such as regular meditation.
  • Distress tolerance: This phase of DBT helps people attain skills that help them become more resilient in the face of problematic events. Tactics include temporary distraction, self-soothing, relaxation and, ultimately, acceptance.
  • Emotional regulation: In this stage of DBT, you can learn to pinpoint the source of an intense emotion and respond to it logically and appropriately.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: At this phase of DBT, you will learn how to navigate social encounters with confidence and a goal-oriented mindset. This portion of therapy focuses on interactions where the goal is to create a transactional change or gain respect from the other party.

How Could You Benefit From DBT?

DBT focuses on minimizing harmful, behaviors that interfere with someone’s daily life, including obstacles that prevent them from seeking therapeutic solutions. It also helps people learn behavioral skills that allow them to make healthier choices, such as improving their self-respect and learning to set and attain realistic goals.

By focusing on facts rather than emotions or black-and-white value judgments such as good/bad or fair/unfair, DBT participants can become more resilient about how they respond to challenges, without descending into self-blame or other destructive thoughts and behaviors.

Change Your Life Today

At Serene Behavioral Health, DBT is one of the therapeutic modes we offer to those who need help overcoming mental health challenges. If you’ve decided you would benefit from focusing on your emotional wellness, we provide four levels of care to meet your individualized needs. Whether you are interested in exploring DBT, or you think another treatment modality would work better for you, contact us today about structuring a customized program with our compassionate care providers. We are here to talk with you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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