DBT (DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY)
What Is DBT?
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of treatment that seeks to help individuals who demonstrate patterns of self-harm or suffer from various mood disorders. DBT was developed in the 1980s to specifically treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), but its use and applications have substantially expanded since then. DBT seeks to promote better cognitive regulation by teaching individuals to understand their personal triggers and how to respond accordingly. DBT has been clinically proven to help those suffering from various disorders limit their undesired reactions to external stimuli, and it has also been proven to promote more positive thoughts and feelings.
DBT is unique in the sense that it seeks to capitalize on the clinical progress made in cognitive psychology, and also promote a sense of mindfulness in clients that has been inspired by Buddhist meditation techniques. In this sense, DBT fuses what has been proven to be most effective in Western treatment methods with what has been most effective in Eastern treatment methods. DBT can be especially useful for those who suffer from substance abuse issues and are seeking treatment that is not so depend on the use of psychiatric medications. Further, what makes DBT an effective mode of treatment is that it is focused on actually solving the underlying causes of self-harm behaviors—it does far more than just simply suppress them.
HOW DOES DBT WORK?
The unconditionally supportive nature of DBT has been clinically proven to be effective because it promotes feelings of purpose and self-worth. Marsha Linehan—the psychologist credited for developing this particular treatment model—developed DBT out of the realization that many patients with maladaptive tendencies can be overwhelmed by their fear of needing to be “good” for the sake of gaining validation from their therapists. The constant pressure to adapt a certain type of self can be harmful. Instead of linking their approval to the execution of certain behaviors, a therapist who will unconditionally support their clients can be much more effective.
DBT promotes a sense of mindfulness that can promote positive thoughts and feelings while simultaneously promoting a sense of self-awareness that can direct clients away from negative ones. DBT can be exercised in an individual, group, team, and even over-the-phone setting, which makes it one of the most flexible approaches in modern psychology. When combined with other positive behaviors—such as yoga, art, music, hiking, and group activities—DBT can be especially effective.
SKILLS TAUGHT IN OUR LOS ANGELES DBT GROUPS
OUR DBT GROUPS FOCUS ON FOUR SETS OF BEHAVIORAL SKILLS.
Distress ToleranceInterpersonal Effectiveness – How to ask for what you want and say no while maintaining self-respect and healthy relationships with others.
Emotion Regulation – How to take control of emotions and not let negative emotions such as pain, grief, or worry bog you down.
WHAT DOES DBT TREAT?
Ultimately, the exact treatment combination that will be best for you and your teen will be dependent on a number of factors. It is important to talk to a licensed professional in order to discover what might work—and what might not work—best. But DBT is a treatment model that presents very few risks while still maintaining the possibility of very high rewards. If your teen is suffering from feelings of invalidation, self-harm, or persistently negative thoughts and feelings, DBT may be the specific type of treatment you’ve been looking for.