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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Definition:

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy suggests that the main obstacle to a happy, healthy, normal, or prosperous life for people with compulsive mood disorders is that they lack the skills to control their emotions. Depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder trap people in chaotic emotional highs and lows that cripple their ability to function. Building these skills means fewer intense emotional states and knowing how to control them, instead of being controlled by them.

Benefits of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy:

  • Decreased stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Feel less angry.
  • More resilient.
  • Improved social skills.
  • Better quality of life.
  • More self-respect and self-acceptance.
  • Reduced cravings.
  • Able to deal with cravings.
  • Positive mindset.
  • Better able to develop realistic goals.
  • Less likely to abandon goals.

How Does Dialectical Behavioral Therapy help Addiction?:

No disease is more individual than addiction. Everyone has a different reason for using based on their unique perspective and experiences. The thing is that all of these lead to universally unpleasant human emotions that we try to escape. Anger, shame, guilt, sadness, embarrassment, regret.

If we can learn to control those emotions, make them feel less intense, and stop them from taking hold of us, then we have a tool to fight drug use. Our substance is no longer the only way we know how to cope. We have choices.

How Does Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Work?:

  1. Meet your therapist and discuss your needs. They will ask you about your prior experiences, your history, and your recent problems. They will help you see how your past affects your present. You will understand the origin of your struggles.
  2. Discuss skills that will help you meet your goals for therapy. These skills will be a custom mix of the following four things:
    1. Core Mindfulness. Stops people from automatically reacting in destructive ways by focusing on the present moment. They practice objective evaluation outside themselves. What’s really happening? Instead of: What do I think is happening?
    2. Distress Tolerance. Teaches people how to experience and survive strong emotions without reacting to them. You practice accepting yourself and the current situation for what it is without judgment. People don’t have to approve of the situation, just accept it so that they can use strategies to improve it.
    3. Emotion Regulation.  People learn to recognize and reduce impulsive emotions. They are taught to question feelings, identify obstacles to success, and to act not react to those obstacles.  
    4. Strategies for effective social interaction. People practice social skills, saying no, and dealing with difficult people.
  3. Attend a separate group space with other people.
  4. Practice these skills with each other and receive guidance from the therapist.
  5. Discuss the results of the group space with the therapist, including successes and ways to improve. Then create things to practice between sessions and track improvement.

An Example of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy:  

Chris has anger issues. He gets upset quickly and often. Sometimes he’s not entirely sure why he is mad, but he still can’t calm down. It’s affected his friendships and relationships.

Step 1. Chris speaks to a therapist about his issues. He asks him if he ever felt afraid as a child. Chris says that his dad worked long hours and would scream at him if the house was dirty. He explains that Chris grew up always looking over his shoulder. This pumps the gas on a survival instinct called fight or flight, which creates fear and aggression. The brain recreates those emotions in “similar” situations. Now when Chris sees someone not cleaning up after themselves, not following instructions, or obeying “the rules” his brain engages fight or flight.

Step 2. Chris and his therapist come up with tools to address his anger. It involves recognizing bodily signs pre-anger (increased heart rate etc) and ways to calm down before spiraling.

Step 3. Chris attends a small group session, led by his therapist. They role-play and he tries to make him angry. It doesn’t work right away but soon he feels his heart rate and breathing change. He coaches him through using different tools and congratulates his success.

Step 4. Chris role-plays different scenarios with others in the group scenarios. Each helps the other person practice what they’ve learned.

Step 5. Chris meets one-on-one with his therapist. He congratulates him on his progress and tells him to use these tools a certain amount of times before their next session, and journal what happens so they can talk about it. When he sees him successfully using the tools in real life scenarios, he gives him more things to try in the group and at home.

Don’t Your Loved Ones Deserve the Best?:

Tree House Recovery uses a unique education-based form of DBT. Clients learn about their brains, behaviors, actions, addictions, and acquire skills for the future. Combined with our other treatment plans, it is currently unrivaled in its success rates.

Feel Free to Do Your Research:

  • We have a reputation for helping people who have tried other rehab facilities.
  • Read patient reviews of Tree House Recovery.
  • We are the highest rated facility in California.
  • From 2013-2018, only 15% of Tree House Recovery clients relapse post-treatment.
  • Look at our success rates.

Call Us, No Charge: (855) 202-2138.

Let us help you reclaim your life. At Tree House Recovery, we believe that everyone wants to get better. Our expert staff can help you find your way.

Everyone on our admissions team is a graduate of our program, and they would be happy to answer all your questions.

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