Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Knowing Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a psychotherapy method developed by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan from the late 1980s.

Dialectical behavior therapy is used in the treatment of several mental illnesses along with substance abuse and dependence.

DBT was originally developed to treat patients with borderline personality disorder and suicidal ideas. One of the core goals of DBT is to help patients build the confidence and working skills to effectively manage stressful situations.

Patients suffering from mental illness, like those prone to extreme emotional outbursts, are more likely to participate in substance abuse as a form of self-medication.   Addiction treatment centers are increasingly using DBT in their therapy programs. Some of the core tenets of DBT–such as improving communication skills, coping skills and self-image–are crucial to helping those suffering from addiction move away from drug use.|

DBT and Addiction Treatment

Dialectical behavior therapy helps recovering addicts learn several skills–mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotional regulation–which are good at helping addicted people stop using alcohol and drugs.

DBT also concentrates on altering the recovering addict’s behaviour and environment to create sobriety easier.

Common DBT strategies include:

  • Helping patients find out environments and peer groups that discourage drug use
  • Encouraging addicts to eliminate triggers like drug paraphernalia or unhealthy relationships from their everyday lives
  • Bolstering self-esteem and assurance to help patients remain sober through stressful periods

DBT Therapies and Techniques

Dialectical behavior therapy generally includes four core elements, such as:

  • Skills Training

    Group leaders teach communication and coping skills — such as how to use mindfulness, emotional regulation, or distress tolerance — that patients can apply to their daily routines and interactions. Skills training courses last about two hours, meeting once a week for approximately 24 weeks.

  • Individual Therapy

    Individual therapy helps recovering addicts learn how to apply techniques learned during skills training courses in real-life scenarios.

    Individual treatment is held weekly for the total DBT program. Treatment sessions are tailored to a recovering addict’s character. Therapists can then assist the enthusiast decide how to best apply their new skills.

  • Phone Coaching

    Recovering addicts may predict their therapists when difficult situations happen out of individual treatment or skills training courses. The therapist will coach the recovering addict to use emotional regulation and distress tolerance methods to manage feelings and deal with stress.

  • Team Consultation

    Team consultation concentrates not on patients, but on therapists and other healthcare suppliers. | Team consultation helps therapists to remain motivated to give the best care possible for patients which may be tricky to treat.

In addition to these elements, recovering addicts will also complete homework assignments. | These may include journaling the behaviours, urges and emotions that they experience during the day.

DBT and Other Remedies

Many addiction treatment centres comprise DBT in their recovery programs. | DBT can teach recovering addicts communication skills, coping techniques, self-confidence and other attributes important to overcoming drug addiction.

Inpatient and outpatient drug rehabs are staffed with medical professionals trained to deal with all sorts of patients. The 24-hour medical care provided at residential centres can help emotionally distressed people complete detox and handle withdrawal.

DBT can also be effective when combined with other behavioral, motivational therapies, including:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Motivational enhancement therapy
  • Contingency management therapy
  • Community reinforcement treatment

Support groups such as  Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous can also help those in recovery incorporate into fresh, drug-free peer groups upon departing treatment.