Learn skills to manage difficult emotions without making things worse.
Sometimes emotions can be BIG. Have you ever experienced emotions that felt like your brain went offline, and you don’t remember what you said or did? Emotions can hijack our brains and bodies, and we can develop patterns of behaviors that can be hurtful and/or harmful to ourselves and others.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, is a skills based approach to cognitive behavioral therapy. DBT in its true form entails participating in a group setting to learn skills while attending individual sessions to process events and use of those skills. DBT is typically taught in 4 modules; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. The skills have been shown to reduce symptoms and improve effectiveness in managing anxiety, depression, substance use disorders, and PTSD. It can help you by learning coping strategies for managing symptoms and building skills for improving communication and relationships with others.
Many people can benefit from DBT without participating in groups. The skills are flexible and adaptable and can be helpful for a wide range of conditions. However, engaging in both individual and group settings has been shown to be more effective.
DBT can help.
Learning and implementing DBT skills can help you improve your emotion regulation in healthy and effective ways and can reduce the intensity and frequency of emotional dysregulation. DBT skills can enhance your relationships through building on communication skills and healthy boundaries.
You can increase self-awareness and self-acceptance through developing a nonjudgmental stance. You can reduce problematic behaviors such as self-harm or substance use through developing and learning DBT skills. Overall, learning DBT skills can help you develop and build resilience and coping in a more positive and effective ways.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?
DBT combines elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with mindfulness techniques and acceptance-based strategies. It is based on the idea that individuals who struggle with intense emotions and problematic behaviors may have difficulty regulating their emotions, which can lead to impulsive and self-destructive behaviors.
DBT helps individuals learn skills to manage their emotions, cope with stress, and improve their relationships with others. The therapy typically involves both individual therapy sessions and group skills training sessions. Some of the key skills taught in DBT include mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
DBT is typically conducted over a period of several months or even years, depending on the severity of the individual’s symptoms and their treatment goals. It is considered an evidence-based treatment, meaning that it has been scientifically studied and shown to be effective for a range of mental health conditions.
How does DBT work?
The therapy typically involves four components:
- Individual therapy: The individual meets one-on-one with a therapist to discuss their concerns, set treatment goals, and work on specific issues that they are struggling with.
- Group skills training: The individual attends a weekly group session where they learn and practice specific skills related to mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
- Phone coaching: The individual can contact their therapist between sessions for additional support and guidance when they are struggling with intense emotions or difficult situations.
- Therapist consultation team: The therapist participates in a weekly consultation team with other DBT therapists to ensure that they are providing the best possible care to their clients.
DBT is based on the idea that individuals who struggle with intense emotions and problematic behaviors have difficulty regulating their emotions, which can lead to impulsive and self-destructive behaviors. The therapy helps individuals learn skills to manage their emotions, cope with stress, and improve their relationships with others.
Some of the key skills taught in DBT include:
- Mindfulness: The ability to focus on the present moment without judgment, which can help individuals stay grounded and avoid getting caught up in their thoughts and emotions.
- Distress tolerance: The ability to tolerate and cope with difficult emotions and situations without engaging in self-destructive behaviors.
- Emotion regulation: The ability to identify and manage intense emotions in a healthy and effective way.
- Interpersonal effectiveness: The ability to communicate assertively and effectively with others, set healthy boundaries, and build positive relationships.
Through these skills, individuals can learn to regulate their emotions, cope with stress, and improve their relationships with others. This can help them reduce self-destructive behaviors and improve their overall quality of life.
When is DBT needed?
- Anxiety disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Substance use disorders
- Eating disorders
- Bipolar disorder
DBT may be particularly helpful for individuals who have experienced trauma, struggle with self-harm or suicidal thoughts, or have difficulty managing their relationships with others.
Some signs that DBT may be helpful include:
- Struggling with intense emotions, such as anger, sadness, or anxiety
- Engaging in self-destructive behaviors, such as self-harm, substance abuse, or risky sexual behavior
- Difficulty regulating emotions and managing stress
- Struggling with relationships, such as feeling isolated or having difficulty communicating effectively with others
- Feeling like emotions are overwhelming and hard to manage
It’s important to note that DBT is not a one-size-fits-all approach and may not be the best fit for everyone. A mental health professional can help determine if DBT is an appropriate treatment option based on an individual’s specific needs and concerns.
How much does DBT cost?
How long does the DBT process take?
DBT typically consists of weekly individual therapy sessions and weekly group skills training sessions. The individual therapy sessions allow for personalized treatment focused on specific issues the individual is struggling with, while the group skills training sessions allow for learning and practicing skills related to mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
The length of treatment can depend on a variety of factors, including the severity of an individual’s symptoms, their motivation to engage in therapy and learn new skills, and their progress throughout the treatment process.
Some individuals may complete the full DBT program in about a year, while others may need more time to work through specific issues and develop the necessary skills to manage their emotions and behavior. Additionally, some individuals may continue with ongoing maintenance sessions or follow-up care after completing the initial DBT program.
Ultimately, the length of the DBT process will depend on the individual’s unique circumstances and treatment needs, and can be determined in collaboration with their mental health professional.
How do I know if Dialectical Behavior Therapy is right for me?
If you are experiencing intense emotions, difficulty regulating your emotions, and engaging in problematic behaviors, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) may be a helpful treatment option. Here are some signs that DBT may be right for you:
- You have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) or another mental health condition that DBT has been shown to be effective for, such as depression, anxiety, or substance use disorders.
- You struggle with intense emotions, such as anger, sadness, or anxiety, and have difficulty managing them in a healthy way.
- You engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as self-harm, substance abuse, or risky sexual behavior, and have difficulty stopping these behaviors on your own.
- You have difficulty regulating your emotions and managing stress, and feel overwhelmed by your emotions at times.
- You struggle with relationships and have difficulty communicating effectively with others or setting healthy boundaries.
- You have tried other forms of therapy in the past but have not seen the results you were hoping for.
It’s important to note that DBT is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and not everyone will benefit from this type of therapy. A mental health professional can help you determine if DBT is the right treatment option based on your specific needs and concerns.
If you are interested in DBT, you can reach out to a mental health professional who is trained in this approach and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your options.
Get Started With Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in Eugene, OR
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