Unlocking Emotional Balance with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
If you have been in the therapy world at all or done any research on different types of mental health treatments and modalities, you might have encountered the term “DBT” or Dialectical Behavior Therapy. While the name may sound daunting, DBT is a very popular therapy approach that focuses on equipping individuals with the skills they need to live a more effective and balanced life. One of the things that sets DBT apart from other types of therapy is that it has an emphasis on teaching clients specific coping skills and techniques in four main areas:
- Emotion Regulation
- Interpersonal Effectiveness
- Distress Tolerance
These areas are often found to be the ones that can cause the most emotional distress and relational difficulties when not handled effectively. One of the goals of DBT is to help individuals identify unhealthy patterns and coping mechanisms and replace them with new, healthy ones. So often in therapy, one can dig deep in identifying problems in his or her life only to be left wondering what to do next. DBT not only helps to identify the problems, but also provides clear and applicable tools and strategies that clients can begin applying to their lives immediately.
Understanding the Four Core Skills of DBT
It’s important to get a better understanding of the core DBT skills.
Emotion regulation is all about learning how to identify, understand, balance out, and respond to your emotions. The goal is to regain control of your emotions and be able to see them as a valuable tool in understanding yourself and your environment better.
Interpersonal effectiveness has the goal to take a closer look at how you relate to the people in your life and make adjustments as necessary to improve your relationship with yourself and others.
Distress tolerance skills are tools that individuals can use to help them get through their most stressful, crisis moments safely and effectively.
Mindfulness skills help individuals learn to ground themselves and be more aware of themselves and the world around them. These skills together can give clients the tools they need to better handle the ups and downs that life brings.
DBT’s Mental Health Benefits
DBT is proven to be effective in helping those struggling with:
- Emotion Dysregulation
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Substance Use Disorders
- Bi-Polar Disorder
This list is by no means exhaustive, as many more mental health concerns can benefit from DBT therapies. DBT can help those living with these conditions by providing a new outlook on their struggles and specific tools to actively start changing their reactions and the way difficulties in life are approached. DBT has become so popular among many different populations because it allows clients to take their power back by being equipped with tangible methods and strategies to change their lives.
Components of a DBT Program
There are a couple of different components to consider when thinking about pursuing DBT-informed therapy.
First, DBT involves weekly individual therapy sessions where clients can process their past while learning coping strategies for the present and beginning to build a fulfilling future. The role of the therapist is to assist the client in better understanding themselves, their past experiences, their emotions, and what areas of life and current methods of coping might be contributing to emotional distress.
Formal DBT programs include weekly skills training sessions (usually done as a group) where clients learn, and practice, each of the four core DBT skills. These formal programs last anywhere from 6 months to a year, depending on the client’s specific needs. These programs can be really helpful for those looking for more intensive and structured treatment.
There is also the option to pursue a more informal approach with a DBT-trained therapist who implements general DBT principles and utilizes the skills in sessions, but it is important to keep in mind that this will not be a full or official DBT program. It is simply another way to get access to the foundational concepts and skills of DBT in the individual therapy setting.
Seeking DBT-Informed Therapy with Carencia
If a more application-based therapy sounds appealing to you, DBT could be a great option to consider when deciding between different treatment approaches. While Carencia does not offer a formal DBT program, we do have a trained DBT therapist who can provide individual counseling through the DBT lens, utilizing both DBT skills and principles in therapy. We can also help by providing referrals to various formal DBT programs if it is more appropriate for your needs.
We hope this information is helpful as you seek the best type of therapy for you, and encourage you to please contact us if you have any questions or would like more information about DBT as a treatment option.