Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a skills-based type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The primary goals of DBT include helping people regulate their emotions, have more successful interpersonal relationships, increase their distress tolerance, and be more mindful of thoughts, feelings, and their environment. Though it was designed to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), DBT is also effective in treating substance use disorder as well as a variety of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

How Does DBT Work?

DBT is an evidence-based treatment that combines elements of CBT with the Zen Buddhist methods of meditation and self-awareness. Through individual DBT sessions and DBT skills groups, our clients learn how to incorporate DBT skills into their everyday lives. Our program consists of four stages:

  • Stage 1 lays the foundation for recovery by helping clients gain control over life-threatening behaviors, behaviors that interfere with treatment, and behaviors that interfere with daily life.
  • Stage 2 is about helping clients express their feelings in a healthy way by teaching them to identify, experience, and better express their emotions.
  • Stage 3 focuses on problem solving to help clients tackle everyday issues and challenges in a more positive way.
  • Stage 4 brings all the lessons and skills of the preceding stages together to help clients better connect with others.

DBT Skills Training

Learning skills and how to apply them in everyday situations is a vital component of our DBT program. Most of the skills training occur in a class-like group setting, during which clients have homework every week to practice the skills in real life.

  • Mindfulness is an essential skill that teaches clients to accept moments in the present, preventing them from acting or reacting with negative behaviors.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness helps clients in their interactions with others. They learn how to ask for what they want, refuse an offer, and cope with conflicts in healthy, effective ways.
  • Distress tolerance is a DBT skill that teaches clients how to deal with pain. It’s a natural development from mindfulness that helps them tolerate and survive crises.
  • Emotion regulation allows clients to identify and label their emotions and obstacles so that they can apply distress tolerance strategies. They also learn how to increase mindfulness as well as how to react positively to emotional events.

To learn more about our treatment programs, call us today at 407.574.5190 or complete our contact form.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

In the late 1980’s Marsha M. Linehan developed a type of therapy to address the needs of women suffering from suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, or tendencies to self-harm. She began treating individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder. This therapy was called “Dialectical Behavior Therapy” or DBT and it researched the environmental and biological factors that may cause some people to respond to emotional states quickly.

Individuals who benefit from this therapy include those who’ve suffered crises and severely shifting emotional peaks and valleys. DBT teaches coping techniques that were not developed during their childhood. Borderline and suicidal individuals are emotionally intense, experiencing severe emotions like anger, frustration, depression, and anxiety. Learning to regulate emotions can positively affect their well-being.

Linhan developed Dialectical Behavior Therapy to center around Five Core Criterion:

1) Expands and sustains the motivation the client possesses to transform

2) Provides the opportunity for the client’s skills to be further developed

3) Assimilates the client’s new skill set to be applicable in relevant circumstances

4) Develops the therapist’s own abilities and increases the desire to effectively treat people

5) Provides a nonjudgmental and secure environment for the healing process

Group therapy, phone conversations, coaching, and additional at home tasks play a key part in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Frequent consultations are required. The therapy structure can include family members to measure and promote progress, and track responses in the home.

The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. Pasadena Villa’s Outpatient Center in Raleigh, North Carolina offers partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP). If you or someone you know may need mental health services, please complete our contact form or call us at 407-574-5190 for more information.



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