Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was developed by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan in the late 1980s. It’s a form of psychotherapy that was initially used in the treatment of borderline personality disorder. Psychotherapy is also known as “talk therapy” and is the type of focus of our treatment programs at Harmony Ridge Recovery Center.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

The struggle for someone who is undergoing treatment with dialectical behavior therapy is one of balancing self-acceptance and the need for change. Those who typically have a wide range of emotions who, when dealing with intense situations, see the world in only black and white, and those who thrive on always having or creating crises in their own lives may benefit from this form of therapy. Dialectical behavior therapy assists by providing the patient with coping mechanisms that they can apply when these extreme reactions occur.

Harmony Ridge Recovery Center will provide you with an environment and a staff to help steer you on a successful path to a lifetime of sobriety. Our campus is located on 50 acres in the beautiful state of West Virginia. We strive to project an overall sense of healing with a focus on evidence-based addiction treatment. Your mental and physical health are important to us, and our facility can provide you what you need to make improvements in both.

How Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Work?

The goal of dialectical behavior therapy is to help you build coping skills and confidence. These skills will ultimately help you handle stressful circumstances by using a different approach. Validation is also used to encourage the benefits that occur when you make changes in how you handle stressful situations. Validation enables the idea of making changes easier.

The typical structure of dialectical behavior therapy includes therapy sessions where you not only work one-on-one with your therapist but also attend group therapy sessions. Both of these forms of therapy will help you build confidence. These therapy sessions will also provide you with the skills to regulate your emotional state.

In the individual therapy sessions, discussions focus on the events of the prior week and how situations were handled. The goal is to teach you how to manage your emotional reactions to events, and discourage overreacting or ignoring the situation. During group therapy sessions, you will share your own experiences with your peers as well as learn from their experiences. This also creates a system of checks and balances to help you feel accountable for your actions.

Segments of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Treatment of those in dialectical behavior therapy includes these steps:

  • Individual psychotherapy is conducted to help you look at your goals and steer you on a path so you can reach those goals. A change in your behavior may be necessary. Your therapist will encourage you and keep you motivated to remain in therapy.
  • Group skills training focuses on acquiring skillful behavior. These sessions allow you to learn from the experiences of the others in your group.
  • Phone coaching plays an important role in dialectical behavior therapy. It provides you with a resource so you can receive coaching from your therapist outside of the one-on-one and group skills training sessions. This coaching provides in-the-moment advice with a focus on lessening the stress of the situation at hand.
  • Consultation teams for therapists give your therapist the support he/she needs to be able to supply you with the best treatment possible. This team may provide your therapist with a different perspective on your situation.

Skill Modules of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

While undergoing dialectical behavior therapy, you’ll be taught four behavioral skill modules. 

  • Mindfulness encourages you to be present “in the moment.”
  • Distress tolerance teaches you how to endure the pain of your situation and how to manage that pain effectively rather than change the pain.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness provides you with the skills that allow you to express what you want, how to be strong and able to say “no” while maintaining your self-respect, and the respect of others.
  • Emotion regulation supplies you with the ability to recognize your emotions so that you can identify and adjust them according to the situation.

Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Therapy sessions for dialectical behavior treatment provide many beneficial strategies. These encourage the management of emotions that, prior to therapy, were out of control. These may have been emotions that led to unhealthy choices.

Dialectical behavior therapy teaches strategies that show you how to accept life and all of the emotions that surround everyday circumstances. You will learn how to cope in these situations. You will also learn how to interact and use appropriate behavior with those around you.

During dialectical behavior therapy sessions, you will also learn to recognize your destructive behaviors, and how to change your harmful thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Once you are able to identify the destructive behaviors, you can then learn how to replace those behaviors with ones that are healthier. Therapy sessions will also teach you how to communicate successfully. Encouragement of your successes is a key component of this therapy, as well as learning new skills that will strengthen your capabilities.

Treatment Stages of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

There are four stages of dialectical behavior therapy.

  • Stage One: The patient has a behavior that is out of control and is very unhappy and unsettled. Self-destructive behaviors are common-place in this stage. The goal of stage one is for the patient to obtain control of these damaging behaviors.
  • Stage Two: The behavior is under more control during this stage but there is a lot of underlying distress that needs to be addressed. The goal of stage two is to encourage the patient to understand their emotional state.
  • Stage Three: The challenge of this stage is to find a state of mind that allows peace and happiness
  • Stage Four: If this stage is needed, it involves the patient finding a deeper sense of overall mental well-being.

Can Dialectical Behavior Therapy Be A Treatment for Addiction?

Since the inception of dialectical behavior therapy, research has found that it is an effective treatment for disorders such as:

  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders (bulimia disorder, anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder)
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Substance dependence

For those who are struggling with mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction is a common addition. Rehabilitation centers such as Harmony Ridge Recovery Center have the staff and resources to assist you. Our therapy options and additional onsite activities aim to provide a deeper level of treatment.

Dialectical behavior therapy is becoming more commonly used in treating addiction. The core focus of increasing self-image, learning how to manage emotional situations, and how to have better communication with those around you are key in addiction treatment. The goal of using dialectical behavior therapy with those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol is to teach skills that make becoming and remaining sober easier.

Strategies that are common in dialectical behavior therapy to promote sobriety are:

  • Decreasing the use of the drug or alcohol
  • Diminishing the urge and cravings associated with drug or alcohol abuse
  • Discouraging drug or alcohol use by encouraging you to surround yourself with people who lead healthy lifestyles and with places that promote a healthy atmosphere
  • Motivating you to remove the items from your life that encourage drug or alcohol use (drug paraphernalia or even unhealthy relationships)
  • Increasing your self-esteem to help you believe in yourself so that you can stay sober, even when times are stressful or discouraging
  • Reducing the physical discomfort of withdrawal symptoms from the drug or alcohol addiction

Treatment Options at Harmony Ridge

Choosing a treatment center that provides dialectical behavior therapy is important. Our staff at Harmony Ridge Recovery Center will treat you or your loved one with the respect that they deserve. We believe in creating an evidence-based treatment plan that meets your specific needs. We continue to provide support long after treatment at our facility is over. Our strong network of alumni and our career resources will be available and will continue with you on your journey to remain sober.  

The treatment plans at Harmony Ridge Recovery Center offer an approach from staff who have faced the same real-world situations you may be living today. Many of our staff have recovered from addiction themselves. Many have witnessed the effects of addiction on a family member.

We would like to encourage you to take a step forward and contact us today. We are here to provide the type of care that you deserve in an environment that not only meets your needs but also exceeds your needs. 

References

https://behavioraltech.org/resources/faqs/dialectical-behavior-therapy-dbt/

https://depts.washington.edu/uwbrtc/about-us/dialectical-behavior-therapy/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2797106/