Many people suffer from painful emotions and/or conflict in relationships. This is a normal result of any number of conditions that can arise in life. Developing skills to help with painful emotions and conflict is important. One type of therapy that has proven helpful for this is dialectical behavior therapy.
The process of dialectical behavior therapy is aimed at providing skills in four therapeutic areas.
- Mindfulness: The ability to be in the present and to accept the present.
- Distress Tolerance: Working to increase one’s ability to handle negative emotions without trying to escape or delay them.
- Emotion Regulation: Learning to control intense emotions, especially negative ones, that impact your life.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness: Developing ways to communicate with those around you while not losing respect and managing assertiveness, with a focus on strengthening relationships.
What DBT Is Used To Treat
Dialectical Behavior Therapy is now used to treat any number of disorders, conditions, or illnesses that cause conflict or negative emotion. Some example of those include: depression, bulimia, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, and more. DBT was originally designed to treat borderline personality disorder but after trialing with other conditions, therapists saw great improvement.
A general rule of thumb is that dialectical behavior therapy can be used to help anyone that wants increase their ability to deal with conflict, cope with negative emotion, and handle distress. All common experiences in life.
What You Will Experience in DBT
DBT takes several forms. Two of the most common forms are individual therapy and group therapy. In one-on-one therapy you will work with your therapist in sessions on each of your needs. The trained therapist will ensure that you are motivated and able to apply DBT to your life. When you hit obstacles, they will also work on those with you.
Group therapy sessions for DBT are often hosted as a skills session. A therapist will guide the group through learning the various skills that you will need to succeed. By working with a group you are not only able to learn the needed skills but to practice them too.
Your group therapy is led by a trained therapist who will work with the group as a whole. Skills are taught through a variety of activities such as hands-on experience, discussion, and through homework. The DBT session will last about two hours and happens weekly. Often times these sessions will continue on for up to six months.
Some people will experience both group sessions and individual sessions, depending on their needs. Dialectical behavior therapy might also be used in combination with other treatments such as other therapies.
In addition to individual dialectical behavior therapy and group therapy, patients often have access to their therapist in between sessions. If you encounter something that you are not able to handle or where you need extra help, you can get crisis coaching to aid you through it. This is therapist dependent but can be a big help for those that fear crisis.
With all of that being said, most people experience far fewer symptoms from their illnesses, disorders, or conditions. That includes less time spent in inpatient facilities. All of that leads to a better quality of life.
How Does DBT Work?
In the 1980’s dialectical behavior therapy was developed by Marsha Linehan. As we mentioned above it was developed to help treat borderline personality disorder. The emotions experienced through borderline personality disorder are often negative and extreme. These happen most commonly amongst their social circles. This leads to conflict with friends, family, romantic partners, coworkers, and other social acquaintances.
The word dialects means working with opposites. Specifically, balancing them. A therapist works with their patient to learn that things are not black and white. Patients develop an ability to see all sides of a situation. Balancing all ways to see a situation, hence the name dialectical behavior therapy.
You will find that dialectical behavior therapy is based on three core principles:
- All happenings in life are connected
- Change will always happen and is the only constant
- Opposites work together to form what we view as the truth
With these three concepts you learn to view the world as an interconnected network of change. To view change as something that is good, rather than bad.
In DBT you therapist will validate your feelings, conflict, and the fear of change. This helps you to realize that these feelings are real and through that learn to make sense of the feelings. Learning to make sense of the feelings goes a long way toward improving your ability to work with them.
How To Find A DBT Therapist
Finding a good DBT therapist is important. First, any therapist you look at working with should be specifically trained in dialectical behavior therapy as a treatment. They should know how to instruct those receiving the treatment. But there is more to it than that. A good DBT therapist doesn’t just teach the principles of DBT, they use them in their own life.
Dialectical behavior therapy teaches patients skills that are useful for everyone. No matter why they might need them. By practicing these skills a therapist often is better equipped to convey them and their benefits.
At Children’s Wellness Company, our licensed clinician has been trained in DBT. Therefore, our therapist is able to provide you with the appropriate treatment should this be a part of your treatment plan.
Dialectical behavior therapy is a time tested set of skills that will help those with any number of problems handle difficult emotions and conflict. The skills may take a number of sessions to develop but are often something that patients turn to for life. Talk to a professional to help determine whether or not DBT is right for you.
At Children’s Wellness Company, we offer Dialectical Behavior Therapy through licensed providers at a Masters or Doctorate level. To learn more about our DBT services, contact us at 305-310-4245 or you can email us.