Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Do you feel your mind is being pulled in a hundred different directions at once? Do you have a hard time handling some of your emotions, and does this cause problems in your relationships?
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was created by Dr. Marsha Linehan as a treatment for those with borderline personality disorder. DBT offers individuals comprehensive skills to manage painful memories and emotions and decrease conflicts in their relationships. Several years after the treatment became utilized, we learned that Dr. Linehan struggled with BPD herself. The D in DBT stands for Dialectic, meaning two opposites can co-exist at the same time. For example you can be really mad at your friend for hurting your feelings and still love them at the same time. The B stands for Behavioral, meaning we will use a behavioral approach to assess your behaviors and aim to reduce unwanted behaviors depending on your goals for treatment. The message at the heart of DBT is the dialectic of acceptance and change. Accepting who you are and that you have to try different things to get the life you want. DBT focuses on 4 specific areas of therapeutic skills. These are:
- Mindfulness – Helps individuals be present in the current moment.
- Distress tolerance – Most people try and keep themselves safe from all negative emotions. Distress tolerance is geared toward increasing a person’s tolerance to negative emotion.
- Emotion regulation – Offers strategies to manage intense emotions that are the root cause of problems in a person’s life.
- Interpersonal effectiveness – These techniques allow an individual to communicate with others in a confident, assertive way that maintains self-respect and strengthens relationships.
How Does it Work Exactly?
Many of us live our daily lives with a constant stream of uncontrollable negative emotions right under our awareness. These emotions affect how we feel about ourselves and how we interact with other people, including friends, romantic partners and family members. DBT works with individuals to help them find ways to manage their negative emotions so they can feel balanced, in control and able to interact with others successfully.
When is DBT Used and What Can You Expect?
DBT is a structured therapy approach that includes handouts and homework called worksheets that are assigned weekly. While dialectical behavioral therapy was initially developed to treat those with borderline personality disorder, research has since shown that DBT can successfully treat people with depression, anxiety, and trauma symptoms too.
DBT can be done in individual sessions and in a group format called DBT skills class. For upcoming DBT group therapy/skills class for Texas residents please contact me.
If you are seeking a DBT therapy in Houston, please get in touch with me. I would be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.