Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a psychotherapy method used to treat severe mental illnesses as well as mental disorders associated with addiction. DBT usually consists of individual sessions as well as group therapy. The primary goal of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is to teach clients how to identify and change their unhealthy thinking patterns and make positive behavioral changes by improving their communication skills, coping tools, and self-image.
When you are ready for addiction treatment, you will have a big responsibility. The best option is the one that will give you the highest level of care. What you don’t need to concern yourself with is what kind of treatment program you will need. The treatment facility will have qualified technicians, who will help you decide on the proper course of treatment. Treatment will likely start with time in a detox program to help you clear potential withdrawal symptoms. Once your body and mind are clear enough to handle the rigors of treatment, therapy will be the next step in the process. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is commonly used in the treatment process to get clients on the right track towards long-term recovery.
What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?
If you have never heard the term Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), perhaps you might be more familiar with the term Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Both disciplines fall under an addiction treatment category experts call evidenced-based treatment.
As the name might indicate, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on how one thinks. From thoughts, actions or behaviors arise. Quite literally, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for addictions focuses one the thoughts people have that lead them to start and continue abusing harmful substances.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy focuses more on the client’s feelings and emotions as opposed to their thoughts. Again quite literally, the focus is on how those emotions and feelings translate into the patient getting caught up in addiction.
DBT originated as a viable treatment solution for people dealing with suicidal ideologies and personality disorders. In that spectrum, the mental health community is looking to help their patients identify the feelings and emotions that are driving them to self-harm. Similarly, addiction is a form of self-harm, though not as intentional as attempting suicide.
Beyond dealing with feelings and emotions, DBT offers the opportunity for a patient to learn new life skills, how to communicate better and the importance of using counseling as a resource for recovery and relapse prevention.
The Four Components of DBT
A standard Dialectical Behavioral Therapy program has four components. The list includes:
- Individual Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Life Skills Building
- DBT Phone Coaching
It’s important to remember that any treatment method is a process. Something has to be broken down in order to build it back up stronger. With that in mind, here’s a closer look at these four components.
Generally, individual therapy is the meat and potatoes of addiction treatment. For the client, it’s a path to self-discovery. With Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, individual therapy sessions give the client an opportunity to discuss how they feel about their life, the people in their lives, and how negative feelings strip them of hope. If they can see how their own emotions and feelings are interfering with their well-being through substance abuse, they then have the basis to start thinking about how to identify the onset of bad behaviors. When they have the opportunity to see bad behavior coming, they might have the ability to make a different choice.
DBT Group therapy sessions focus on two different aspects of treatment. The first aspect is actually pretty evident. All clients get the opportunity to experience and recognize the importance of building support resources for relapse prevention. While sitting in a group therapy session, each client gets an opportunity to speak and listen. What they learn is that they are not as unique as they thought. There are many other individuals suffering from similar addiction problems, though the circumstances could differ. Ultimately, group therapy teaches the importance of support from people who truly understand.
The other aspect relates to building skill. The skill is the ability to communicate about feelings and emotions. The wall people can build as a facade can be very strong. In group therapy, everyone works together to break down the walls and start communicating. If someone has the ability to communicate about their feelings and emotions, there is a good chance that behaviors will change.
Life Skills Building
Once a client knows the source of their pain, which leads to destructive behaviors, they can begin searching for solutions. Life skills can be a great source of remedy for a wide range of problems. If a person learns how to better manage their money, financial problems might dissipate. If someone learns how to be a better leader, they might get better opportunities in their career. Life skills provide the basis for responsible behavior, which hopefully removes the need to abuse substances.
DBT Phone Coaching
Once a client leaves rehab, recovery has just begun. On the outside, they will encounter triggers and temptations. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy phone coaching offers the existing client an excellent resource for relapse prevention. With a counselor sitting just one phone call away, there is always a choice.
If you are suffering from an addiction, you need to find the inspiration to care about your future. The hope is you contemplation will soon turn into action. When that happens, we are here to help you. If you are interested in learning more about Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or any of the other treatment services we offer, please give us a call.