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Dialectical Behavior Therapy

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couple on park bench discussing dialectical behavior therapyWhich clients can benefit from dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)? Because DBT focuses on teaching clients how to live in the moment and cope with stress, most clients will find this form of care very helpful.

“Dialectical” refers to bringing together two opposites in the therapy practice, which are acceptance and change. Working on both at the same time brings better results than either one alone. The focus on accepting a client’s experience balances with the therapeutic work on changing negative behaviors.

If DBT sounds like it could help you or someone you love, ask a mental health center for more information and get professional help. For telehealth or in-home counseling services in Texas, call AssuraSource at 972.233.1010 or reach out to us online and join our many satisfied clients.

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

DBT is a modified type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Its main goals are:

  • Teaching clients how to live in the moment
  • Helping clients develop healthy ways to cope with stress and regulate their emotions
  • Giving clients tools to improve their relationships with others

DBT was initially intended to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), but it has been adapted to treat other mental health conditions. It can help clients who are experiencing difficulties with emotional regulation or exhibiting self-destructive behaviors. DBT is also sometimes used to help clients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). How does DBT work, though? Comprehensive DBT focuses on four ways to enhance clients’ life skills:

  • Distress tolerance – After dialectical behavior therapy, clients should feel intense emotions like anger without reacting impulsively by using self-injury or substancce use to ease distress.
  • Emotion regulation – Clients should also be practiced in recognizing, labeling, and adjusting their emotions.
  • Mindfulness – DBT also helps clients become more self-aware, as well as being aware of others and attentive to the present moment.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness – This type of therapy will also help clients navigate conflict and start to interact assertively.

Like cognitive-behavioral therapy, DBT has evolved to become a popular and flexible evidence-based psychotherapy approach used to treat many conditions. DBT is often used in group therapy sessions when clients are taught behavioral skills. It’s also used in individual therapy when clients’ learned behavioral skills are adapted to their life challenges. Finally, DBT can be included in phone coaching. Clients can often call their therapist between sessions to receive guidance on coping with a current difficult situation.

How Does DBT Work for Anxiety?

Anxiety and depression have both been shown by research to respond extremely well to DBT. This form of therapy’s ability to address clients’ excessive emotionality by establishing specific therapeutic skillsets is part of effective treatment.

DBT for anxiety is effective because it is:

  • Cognitive-based – DBT helps clients identify thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that make life harder. This happens while the therapy also teaches them alternative ways of approaching and solving maladaptive cognitive patterns.
  • Support-oriented – DBT could assist clients in identifying personal strengths and building on them to improve self-perspective.
  • Collaborative – This form of therapy requires both the therapist and client of a session to facilitate constant communication. Through this, clients will learn effective methods of skill-building and problem-solving.

DBT allows professionals to highlight clients’ impulsive decision patterns and excessive emotionality through learnings that help improve introspection and increase personal restraint.

How Does DBT Work for Mental Health in General?

DBT often focuses on high-risk and tough-to-treat clients. These clients will also usually have a dual diagnosis. Why this specialty? Because DBT was initially designed to treat BPD and suicidal behavior, it has proven easy to adapt it to help treat other mental health problems that threaten clients’ emotional well-being, physical safety, relationships, and work. After all, DBT teaches clients skills to cope with, and change, unhealthy behaviors.

Clients with difficulty regulating emotions, moods that shift rapidly, and extreme sensitivity to rejection may benefit significantly from DBT for mental health. After DBT, clients that have engaged in impulsive behavior, such as substance use, self-injury, or legal troubles, may have improved social functioning and feel other positive changes.

Learn More About AssuraSource’s Behavioral Therapy and Counseling Services

Dialectical behavior therapy can form the foundation of proper mental health. If you or a loved one may benefit from DBT, reach out to our AssuraSource team today by calling 972.233.1010 or completing our online form. We accept Medicare and Medicaid insurance to ensure that people have access to much-needed therapy and counseling services. Let our team become part of your team today.