Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

New Skills to Manage Painful Emotions

DBT CounselingDialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has evolved to become an evidence-based psychotherapy approach that is used to treat many conditions. The term "dialectical" comes from the idea that bringing together two opposites in therapy - acceptance and change - brings better results than either one alone.

It can help people who have difficulty with emotional regulation or are exhibiting self-destructive behaviors (such as eating disorders and substance use disorders). This type of therapy is also sometimes used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

The wonderful web will tell you that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidenced-based psychotherapy that has been proven useful in treating mood disorders, suicidal ideations, self-harm and substance abuse. It has also been shown effective in treating anxiety, depression.

We believe Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an amazing and often life changing treatment for teens who are struggling with regulating their emotions, coping with distress, impulsivity and poor communication.

The goal is to change problematic, destructive behaviors and negative thinking patterns into positive outcomes. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) provides your teenager a range of skills to use when they are emotionally dysregulated.

Who would benefit from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical behavioral therapy focuses on high-risk, tough-to-treat patients. These patients often have multiple diagnoses. Impulsive behavior, such as substance abuse, risky sex, self-injury, and repeated life crises such as legal troubles and homelessness, are common.

Patients who undergo Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) have seen improvements such as:

  • Less frequent and less severe suicidal behavior
  • Shorter hospitalizations
  • Less anger
  • Less likely to drop out of treatment
  • Improved social functioning

Because Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is able to help people successfully improve their coping skills, they are able to develop effective ways to manage and express strong emotions. Researchers have also found that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is effective regardless of a person's age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and race/ethnicity.

How do you know if your teen will benefit from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

  • Your teen has difficulty controlling their emotions and behaviors.
  • Your teen exhibits problem behaviors such as isolation from peers and family, hiding things, routine lying, self-harm, drug and/or ETOH use, impulsivity (to name a few).
  • Your teen acts out on their emotions without considering the consequences of their actions.
  • Your teenager has difficulty navigating relationships with family members, peers and/or teachers 

One important benefit of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is the development of mindfulness skills.4 Mindfulness helps you focus on the present or "live in the moment." This helps you pay attention to what is happening inside you (your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and impulses) as well as using your senses to tune in to what's happening around you (what you see, hear, smell, and touch) in nonjudgmental ways.

Mindfulness skills help you slow down and focus on using healthy coping skills when you are in the midst of emotional pain. The strategy can also help you stay calm and avoid engaging in automatic negative thought patterns and impulsive behavior.

Our counselors have been trained to use Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) by Behavioral Tech, the founder of DBT’s Marsha Linehan’s training program. 

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