What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?
Dialectical behavior therapy is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy developed in the 1980’s by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is aimed at attempting to identify and change negative thinking patterns and pushes for positive behavioral changes. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was created to better treat borderline personality disorder and has since been used for the treatment of other types of mental health disorders. It teaches patients skills to cope with, and change, unhealthy behaviors.
The term “dialectical” comes from the idea that bringing together two opposites in therapy, acceptance and change, brings about better results than either one alone. One unique aspect of DBT is its focus on acceptance of patient’s experience as a way for the therapists to provide reassurance. Dialectical behavior therapy typically has four parts – individual therapy, skills training, phone coaching, and therapist consultations.
A number of addictions and mental health disorders can be treated by dialectical behavior therapy, including:
- Prescription painkillers
- Cocaine, heroin, etc.
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
In dialectical behavior therapy the psychosocial aspects of treatment are emphasized. The theory behind dialectical behavior therapy is believed to be that some people are prone to react in a more intense and out-of-the-ordinary manner toward certain emotional situations, mostly those found in romantic, friend and family relationships. Dialectical behavior therapy suggests that some people’s arousal levels in such situations can increase far more quickly than the average person’s, attain a higher level of emotional stimulation, and take a significant amount of time to return to baseline arousal levels.
Sometimes people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder will experience extreme emotional swings, seem to always be jumping from one crisis to another, and see the world in black-and-white. It can be very difficult for friends and loved ones to understand such reactions. Dialectical behavior therapy is a method for teaching skills to help with development of methods for coping with these sudden and intense surges of emotion.
At A New Start, Inc., our team of therapists utilize a range of therapies for each patient based on their individual needs. Our team of therapists offer a range of specialized therapies which can be combined for effective treatment using co-therapy methods. For additional information about A New Start, Inc. and our intensive outpatient treatment program for drug and alcohol addiction, please contact us today at 1.844.TALK.ANS.