Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that is founded on the principals of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and rooted in mindfulness practices based on Zen Buddhist teachings. Psychologist Marsha M. Linehan developed DBT in the late 1980s as a means to more effectively treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). The primary goal of DBT, according to Psychology Today, is to “transform negative thinking patterns and destructive behaviors into positive outcomes.” While it was originally developed and remains the gold standard method of treatment for individuals diagnosed with BPD, evidence has shown it to be a successful treatment method for individuals struggling with other mental health conditions.
DBT: A Closer Look
Dialectical behavior therapy is made up of three distinct therapeutic settings, which include weekly individual psychotherapy (one-on-one therapy) sessions, weekly DBT skills training group therapy sessions, and as-needed phone coaching to provide additional support between the weekly individual and group sessions. One-on-one therapy sessions are intended to provide personalized support for individuals with processing experiences, addressing issues, navigating challenges, and identifying successes that occurred in the previous week. The DBT skills training group therapy sessions are focused on enhancing the capabilities of each participant by teaching behavioral skills related to the four modules that make up the pillars of DBT. They include the following, provided by the Linehan Institute:
- Core Mindfulness (focusing skills): the practice of being fully aware and entirely present in the current moment.
- Distress Tolerance (crisis survival skills): learning tools and techniques to accept, find meaning through, and tolerate distress.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness (social skills): learning assertive communication methods that enable an individual to engage with others in a way that maintains self-respect and simultaneously strengthens relationships.
- Emotion Regulation (de-escalation skills): learning to recognize, label, and adjust emotions to assist in regulating emotions and subsequently changing reactions to events.
In DBT skills training group therapy sessions the clinician running the session will follow the lessons provided in the DBT curriculum, teach the pertinent skills, and facilitate activities to allow the participants to practice implementing the newly learned DBT skills. These group sessions offer participants an emotionally safe environment to begin to adopt the DBT skills alongside others working on similar issues. Group members are encouraged to share their experiences and provide mutual support, which can be invaluable to the therapeutic process. The work that occurs during the DBT skills training group therapy sessions continues, as homework assignments that correspond to the DBT skills taught or visited during each DBT skills training group therapy session are regularly assigned. DBT relies on supportive resources (e.g., handouts, diary cards, worksheets, workbooks, etc.) to help reinforce the skills taught in each DBT skills training group therapy session and to provide additional opportunities for participants to continue to practice applying the learned skills in daily life.
Treatment In Calabasas
Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options.
The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.