What is DBT Therapy?
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a kind of therapy that helps people who have a range of mental health disorders cope. It was initially developed in the 1980s by Dr. Marsha Linehan to treat borderline personality disorder and has since been adapted to many mental and thought disorders.
DBT uses mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotional regulation to help solve problems for those suffering from mental health issues. It’s used to treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder, bulimia, binge-eating, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse problems, among other issues.
DBT Therapy Definition
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy tries to identify and change negative thinking patterns and pushes for positive behavioral changes.
DBT may be used to treat suicidal and other self-destructive behaviors. It teaches patients skills to cope with, and change, unhealthy behaviors.”
Learn what Michelle Quilter, Director of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program at Lifeskills South Florida, says about DBT:
What Conditions Does DBT Treat?
DBT can be used to address many kinds of mental health conditions and behaviors, such as life-threatening behavior and therapy-interfering behavior. But it can also help with the quality of life and skills acquisition.
DBT has been shown to be successful in reducing suicidal behavior, self-injury, addiction, anger, depression, and can help improve social functioning. Getting professional therapy can improve the situation of many people suffering from the effects of mental health disorders.
How It Works
Learn What to Expect in DBT Therapy
DBT is an effective comprehensive therapy, backed by research and evidence. It can be provided in individual therapy, group sessions, or in today’s world, with phone coaching or zoom sessions.
Participants are frequently taught new real-life DBT skills training through role-playing and connecting with others. In one-on-one sessions, behavior can be dissected and redirected into more positive outcomes. In DBT, people learn new ways to cope with their triggers, stressors, and life circumstances.
In these sessions, goals are established first, followed by a comprehensive plan with benchmarks. DBT therapists work with people to find new strategies to accept and tolerate emotions, changes, and circumstances. Breaking down some of the destructive behavior patterns is essential, and then they can be replaced with new healthy alternatives.
Collaborating with a group can help develop communication skills and enhance social capabilities. It’s also lovely to have connections with people going through the same thing or who are in a similar circumstance.
What are the Benefits of DBT Therapy?
The great thing about DBT is that it’s focused, organized, and targeted at shifting problematic behavior. Here are some of the benefits of dialectical behavior therapy:
- Increases success of therapy sessions
- Decreases suicidal thoughts and behavior, as well as self-harming behavior
- Increases quality of life
- Increases mood
- Helps overcome trauma, anxiety, depression, and stress
- Increases sense of self-worth and self-respect
- Creates a sense of accomplishment following goal setting
It seems like depression, destructive thoughts, and behaviors can never be overcome in some mental places. But DBT helps rewire our brains and actions to help us see and live our best lives.
Some of our programs include:
- Residential treatment program
- Outpatient treatment program
- Transitional living program
- Family support program
The benefits are sometimes seen in as little as a few sessions. The therapy itself can be done for a few weeks, years, or even throughout life. The skills learned in DBT can be taken and used in real-life situations and adapted to each individual’s needs.
Is DBT Right for You?
If your emotions interfere with your relationships, work, school, or goals, it may be a sign that DBT could be right for you. If your emotions feel out of control, overwhelming, or debilitating, DBT may also be helpful. Here are a few more factors that could make you a good candidate for DBT:
- If you struggle with your identity or feel like you’re lost without a cause sometimes.
- Mood swings that last longer or are more severe than most people.
- If you feel sensitive
- You have conflicted relationships, either with family members, friends, or partners. Sometimes you lose people quickly or suddenly due to fallouts.
- You might have anger problems. You might tend to lash out at people close to you, or occasionally act out in severe ways.
- You could be participating in harmful behavior such as self-harm, alcohol or drug abuse, overspending money, or risky sexual behavior.
- You might experience feelings of hopelessness or emptiness that seem unsurmountable.
To figure out if DBT is a good fit for you, reach out to your primary care doctor or trusted healthcare professional.
DBT at Lifeskills South Florida
At Lifeskills South Florida, we offer DBT through a comprehensive Linehan compliant 13-week program, as well as auxiliary DBT groups for those focusing on other clinical pathways. Our clinicians are certified by the Marsha Linehan institute for advanced skills in the use of DBT. For Lifeskills South Florida, having intensively trained clinicians reinforces, expands, and strengthens our current DBT program. For our clients, it improves the quality of DBT programming that we offer. We strive to ensure our staff are highly trained and responsible in providing comprehensive DBT skills.