Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Through The Forest Counseling of Boston

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Through The Forest Counseling of Quincy

859 Willard St Ste 400b, Quincy, MA 02169
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Through The Forest Counseling of New Haven

157 Church St 19th FL, Connecticut Financial Center, New Haven, CT 06510

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) teaches clients new skills to manage uncomfortable emotions and reduce conflict in relationships. DBT focuses especially on giving therapeutic skills in four critical areas. To begin, mindfulness focuses on enhancing a person’s ability to accept and be present in the present moment. Second, rather than attempting to escape from negative emotion, distress tolerance aims to increase a person’s tolerance of it. Third, emotion regulation refers to tactics for dealing with and changing intense emotions that are producing problems in a person’s life. Fourth, interpersonal effectiveness refers to skills that enable a person to communicate with others in a confident, self-respecting, and relationship-building way.

Individual therapy sessions and DBT skills groups are common components of DBT treatment. Individual therapy sessions include one-on-one contact with a competent therapist to ensure that all therapeutic needs are met. The individual therapist will help the patient in remaining motivated, applying DBT skills in daily life, and addressing any hurdles that may develop throughout treatment.

Participants in DBT skills groups learn and practice skills in a group setting. Members of the group are encouraged to share their experiences and offer mutual support to one another. One qualified therapist leads the groups, teaching skills and guiding exercises. The group members are then given homework, such as mindfulness exercises to practice. Each group session lasts about two hours, and groups usually meet once a week for six months. Depending on the needs of the group members, groups might be shorter or longer. DBT can be delivered in a variety of methods by therapists. Some persons, for example, complete the one-on-one therapy sessions but do not attend the weekly skills group. Others may prefer the group over regular one-on-one sessions.

DBT assumes that effective treatment, including group skills training, must pay equal attention to the behavior and experience of providers working with clients as it does to the behavior and experience of the clients. Thus, provider treatment is an important component of any DBT program, and therapists should practice the skills themselves. They must be familiar with basic behavior therapy procedures as well as DBT treatment options. Look for a mental health professional who has had specialized DBT training and experience. A non-profit organization called the Linehan Board of Certification has created certification requirements for clinicians. Furthermore, it is critical to locate a therapist with whom you feel at ease.

DBT was first used to treat borderline personality disorder. However, evidence reveals that DBT has also been used successfully to treat persons suffering from depression, bulimia, binge eating, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance misuse. DBT skills are thought to be capable of assisting persons who wish to enhance their ability to regulate emotions, tolerate distress and negative emotion, be mindful and present in the present moment, communicate and connect effectively with others.

DBT is a cognitive-behavioral treatment created in the 1980s by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder. BPD patients frequently experience highly intense negative emotions that are difficult to manage. These intense and seemingly uncontrollable negative emotions are frequently felt when the individual interacts with others—friends, love partners, and family members. Borderline people frequently have a lot of friction in their relationships.

DBT, as the name implies, is influenced by the philosophical viewpoint of dialectics: balancing opposites. The therapist works with the individual on a consistent basis to develop ways to hold two seemingly opposing ideas at the same time, fostering balance and avoiding black and white—all-or-nothing thinking styles. In order to achieve this balance, DBT advocates a both-and rather than an either-or mindset. Acceptance and change are the dialectics at the center of DBT.

What is the next step?

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