Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy


Treatment Options - Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of psychotherapy based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with more focus on managing emotions. DBT can be an effective treatment option for people who experience emotions very intensely. 

DBT helps patients recognize how thoughts can affect emotions and behaviors. It has proven to work well for managing a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, suicidal behaviors, and certain personality disorders.

What Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Is

The word ‘dialectical’ means concerned with or acting through opposing forces. DBT is based on the idea that learning to accept yourself while also changing your behavior - two seemingly opposing actions – works better when applied together.

DBT is known to be a very effective treatment option for people with mental health issues that stem from an inability to control intense, negative emotions. While DBT and CBT both work towards changing a negative approach to life, DBT also focuses on self-acceptance. DBT follows an evidence-based approach where therapists see that this balance is more effective in bringing about a change in behavior.

DBT is often used for high-risk patients with tough-to-treat conditions, including people with treatment-resistant depression. People with mental health concerns that threaten their safety and emotional well-being can benefit from DBT.

How DBT Works

The focus of DBT is emotion regulation. When used for treating depression, DBT involves behavioral, cognitive, and acceptance-based therapy, teaching you new coping skills.

Comprehensive DBT includes individual therapy and therapy by phone (for handling crises between sessions).

You will also be given “homework” to practice new skills and record your emotional fluctuation. DBT helps you build new life skills:

  • Increasing interpersonal effectiveness – Being confident in your interactions and navigating conflict
  • Regulating painful emotions – Identifying and categorizing emotions for adjustment
  • Tolerating emotional distress – Controlling impulsiveness while reacting to distressing emotions
  • Developing mindfulness skills – Being attentive to the present moment and becoming self-aware

What to Expect with DBT

With DBT, you will establish a regular schedule for individual sessions with your therapist. These may be weekly or more, depending on your needs. This type of therapy can last anywhere from six months to a year.

At the beginning of your treatment using DBT, your therapist will likely address the most high-risk aspects of your depression. Feelings of self-harm or suicidal thoughts are dealt with first to give you relief from the constant threat of injury.

Next, the treatment will focus on developing skills that improve the quality of your life. This is done through developing the ability to deal with anguish and pain and controlling emotional volatility. Once this is possible, you will focus on improving your interpersonal relationships with those around you.

The final stage of the treatment includes finding ways to find joy in life and follow life goals for a healthy and bright future.

Benefits of DBT

A dialectical approach to therapy ensures that you bring about sustained positive changes in your life.

  • Self-acceptance: Becoming more accepting of yourself and circumstances in life
  • Behavioral changes: Analyzing maladaptive behaviors and making healthy changes
  • Cognitive changes: Changing your thought patterns and habits to be more effective for your life
  • Interpersonal changes: Using collaboration skills to work within teams toward a common purpose

Use Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to Get the Help You Need

Finding the proper treatment when you have treatment-resistant depression can be challenging. DBT is one of the 200 treatment options our expert team will consider when developing your treatment plan.

If you want to explore using DBT to treat your chronic depression, Options MD can help. Text us to get started. You can also join our Facebook community to connect with other people with treatment-resistant depression. 

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