What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy developed by Marsha Linehan. It was created to treat suicidal patients and those with Borderline Personality Disorder, but is now recognized as an effective treatment for a variety of conditions including PTSD, depression, substance use, eating disorders, and trauma. The word “dialectical” means a synthesis or combining of opposites. It is the practice of pushing for change while accepting where you are.

What is the Difference Between DBT & CBT?

DBT is based on CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and is a form of psychotherapy, or talk therapy. While they share many similarities, the key difference between these two trauma treatments is in the way that negative thoughts or behaviors are managed.

CBT focuses on how your thoughts, feelings, and behavior influence each other. It seeks to help patients identify and change problematic ways of thinking and behaving. DBT, on the other hand, has a greater focus on emotional and social aspects. DBT helps patients control extreme emotions to improve relationships through validation and behavior change. Greater emphasis is given towards regulating emotions, being mindful, and learning to accept the pain, rather than redirecting the way we think and react.

Understanding the 4 DBT Skills

The beauty of DBT is that it is a skills-based therapy wherein truly anyone can benefit from learning and applying these skills. These skills fall into four main modules, two of which are acceptance-oriented and two are change-oriented.

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The practice of being fully aware and present in this one moment.

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Distress Tolerance

How to tolerate pain in difficult situations, not change it.

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Interpersonal Effectiveness

How to ask for what you want and say “no” while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others.

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Emotion Regulation

How to decrease vulnerability to painful emotions and change emotions that you want to change.

Who Can Benefit from DBT?

Although DBT was originally developed as a way to treat Borderline Personality Disorder, it has also been extremely effective for those who experience other disorders such as depression, eating or substance disorders, PTSD and trauma. Patients who participate in DBT usually fight intense emotions including extreme anger, frustration, anxiety or depression, and may have suicidal thoughts.

At our trauma treatment center, patients learn DBT skills to help with their daily life. Our therapists will coach you in the moment to use these skills, helping to solidify them in your daily life.

DBT is just one of the many trauma treatment therapies used at Innova Recovery Center. Each one of our therapies is intended to treat every aspect of your recovery including mind, body, and soul. To learn more about our treatment modalities, click here.

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If you would like more information on DBT at Innova Recovery Center, please contact our team. All calls are confidential.