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Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that encourages communication and social skills through the patient’s relationship with their therapist. Dr. Marsha M. Linehan developed this mental health and addiction treatment in the 1970s to treat individuals with chronic conditions such as borderline personality disorder. In the past 40 years or so, it has become the gold standard in psychological treatment for drug abuse and addiction.

patient talks to counselor during dialectical behavioral therapy in mens drug rehab program

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

person using dialectical behavior therapy in counselingDialectical behavior therapy (DBT) provides patients with techniques to manage painful emotions and defuse conflict in relationships. DBT focuses specifically on providing therapeutic skills. Mindfulness training focuses on improving the individual’s ability to accept and be aware of the present moment. Distress tolerance is geared toward increasing a client’s understanding of negative emotion, rather than avoiding it. Emotion regulation strategies in dialectical behavior therapy help the patient manage and alter intense emotions that tend to cause conflict. Interpersonal effectiveness consists of learning effective communication strategies, encouraging clients to communicate with others in a way that reflects assertiveness, self-respect, and empathy. The relationship between the client and the therapist is the most important component in DBT. 

The focus of DBT is to address abnormal patterns of behavior, emotion, social interaction, and thought. The premise of DBT is based on a theory that emphasizes the trouble that some people have with controlling their feelings. Most problems stem from an inability to regulate emotion, such as destructive behavior, impulsiveness, disconnection from others, and substance abuse. As a result, therapists use DBT and addiction treatment programs to correct these patterns and problems.

The Components of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

The DBT that you experience may be different from other patients at Crestview Recovery. This is to ensure that you get the specific help that you need. However, the therapy follows a general guideline that includes three components:

  • Individual TherapyIndividual therapy focuses on improving your motivation and helping you apply the skills that you learn during DBT to specific situations. Therapy sessions take place at least once a week.
  • Skills Training – As one of the most important aspects of DBT, skills training focuses on enhancing your potential. The group leader of the class teaches skills and gives homework so that you can practice using the skills every day. Generally, individuals go to classes at least once a week.
  • Therapist Consultation – This component is therapy for the DBT providers. Its purpose is to support their work with people who have complex and serious disorders that are hard to treat. It gives them the motivation to provide the best treatment that they can. The providers meet at least once a week.

The Skills That Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Teaches

The strategies and skills that DBT teaches are balanced in relation to acceptance and change. Distress tolerance and mindfulness relate to acceptance. Distress tolerance teaches you how to endure pain in tough situations. In turn, mindfulness teaches you how to be fully aware and in the moment.

Emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness relate to change. Emotional regulation teaches you how to change the feelings that you want to change. Interpersonal effectiveness teaches you how to say no and ask for what you want while managing relationships and maintaining self-respect.

By learning these skills, you have the tools that you need to control your behavior, emotions, and thoughts. This is beneficial for abstaining from drinking and using. Along with helping prevent relapse, the DBT skills teach you that slipping up doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve recovery. It also gives you techniques to reduce adverse consequences and the dangers of infection and overdose.

Get Dialectical Behavioral Therapy at Crestview Recovery

If you or a loved one has an addiction and trouble with a mental health disorder, DBT could be the right treatment. Crestview Recovery helps men and women achieve recovery through evidence-based treatment methods. Along with DBT, our master therapists offer addiction therapy services including:

Regain control over all aspects of your life with the help of qualified therapists at Crestview Recovery in Portland. Call 866.262.0531 now to begin your recovery.