What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has become the standard psychological treatment for individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), as it is clinically proven to be one of the most highly effective methods of therapy. DBT is a cognitive behavioral treatment that is relatively versatile and has been used to effectively treat individuals with depression, bulimia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other ailments, along with borderline personality disorder. Ultimately, Dialectical Behavior Therapy has been shown to successfully help individuals develop strong, long-lasting skills to cope with borderline personality disorder and improve day-to-day functioning and social relationships.
What Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Involve?
Dialectical behavior therapy involves learning effective strategies to healthily cope with stress, regulate emotions, and maintain and improve relationships with others, as well as implementing these methods into day-to-day life. Patients do this by developing and using skills such as mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotional regulation. Dialectical behavior therapy operates through four different stages:
- Stage 1: This is the foundational stage of the process on which an individual’s success in regulating their emotions and behavior is built. During this stage, our therapists work with clients to better clarify and understand the problematic emotional and behavioral patterns associated with their distress as well as evaluate all factors (biological, environmental, medical, social) that may be contributing to the problematic behavior. The individual will then begin to discover and learn cognitive-behavioral strategies to control the problematic behavior, especially those that are harmful to self or others.
- Stage 2: After developing the skills and tools to more effectively control behavior, our therapists then assist individuals in learning how to express their emotions in a healthy, effective way, rather than suppressing or trying to avoid those emotions. In this stage, the client is encouraged to talk about their emotions, as well as work through any underlying issues, such as traumatic experiences or emotional struggles, that may be contributing to the problematic behavior.
- Stage 3: This stage combines the skills and concepts learned in the previous stages to assist individuals in discovering how to successfully handle and solve real-life problems in a safe and effective way.
- Stage 4: The final stage assists individuals in utilizing all the skills they have acquired to develop the ability to develop and maintain positive, meaningful relationships. Our therapists place a strong emphasis on this stage, as proper communication skills are important.