Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was developed by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan in the late 1980s as a means to better treat individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), suffering from chronic suicidal ideation. It is a rigidly structured, evidence-based psychotherapy that emphasizes the psychosocial aspect of treatment. It is comprised of three distinct therapeutic settings, which include: weekly individual psychotherapy sessions, weekly DBT skills training group therapy sessions, and as-needed phone coaching. DBT combines techniques from western cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psycho-educational modules, and eastern mindfulness-based practices to foster the systematic learning of new emotional coping skills. Dialectical behavior therapy focuses on teaching skills in four primary areas, also known as the four modules of DBT. Each module highlights specific skills that build upon each other and are individually and collectively integral to the success of DBT.
Module One: Core Mindfulness
The Oxford English Dictionary defines mindfulness as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.” There have been studies that indicate that the tranquility effects of practicing mindfulness can be directly correlated to a reduction in one’s stress levels, which can subsequently have a positive effect on one’s immune system. Skills during this module help individuals learn to slow down and focus on mindfully acknowledging and experiencing emotions without reacting impulsively and/ or destructively. It teaches skills to help individuals avoid taking things personally, garner a better understanding of their emotions, become active listeners, and learn to sit with emotions instead of trying to ignore, expel, or dismiss them.
Module Two: Distress Tolerance
Distress tolerance is often conceptualized as “one’s ability to tolerate and withstand negative or uncomfortable emotional states.” Distress tolerance skills, also known as crisis survival skills, are short-term coping strategies intended to help manage emotional pain to avoid destructive behavior. Distress tolerance skills help an individual learn to acknowledge, process, and integrate emotions and situations in a way that is non-evaluative and nonjudgmental. The purpose of the distress tolerance modules is to bolster one’s ability to cope with feelings that do not have an immediately known resolution.
Module Three: Emotion Regulation
Emotion regulation can be explained as “the ability to exert control over one’s own emotional state.” The goals of this module are threefold: to understand one’s emotions, reduce emotional vulnerability, and decrease emotional suffering. The emotion regulation module focuses on skills that are aimed to help an individual learn to decrease the intensity of their emotions, sit with, and experience strong unwanted emotions, without impulsively acting on them.
Module Four: Interpersonal Effectiveness
The interpersonal effectiveness module is intended to teach people skills to navigate interpersonal problem solving, improve assertiveness, hone social skills to modify aversive environments, and to realize goals in interpersonal encounters. These skills involve helping individuals identify and understand their own needs in a relationship. Interpersonal effectiveness skills also help an individual learn to cultivate, engage, and maintain healthy relationships with others that enable one’s needs to be met. This includes advocating for one’s needs and communicating in way that is non-damaging, assertive, maintains self-respect, and strengthens relationships.
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.