What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a well researched and comprehensive treatment approach designed to help people who have difficulty in regulating their emotions. This often results in a high degree of impulsive reactivity, self-destructive behaviors, and volatile relationships with others in their lives. DBT works by teaching participants to become more aware of their particular sensitivity to negative emotions such as anger and anxiety. At the same time, it provides the skills necessary to tolerate these feeling and then begin to regulate them. DBT also teaches assertiveness skills to enable participants to effectively begin asking for what they want from others and saying no to things they don’t want.
The treatment aims to address difficulties in the following areas:
building and maintaining positive relationships
In the adolescent model, ways to more effectively manage the difficulties that occur between adolescents and their parents/guardians are also taught.
Clients learn cognitive behavioral and mindfulness skills to better identify, label and manage their emotions. They then practice using those skills in everyday life, learning how to better tolerate life events and improve their interactions with others.
DBT is a multi-component therapy, which consists of three parts:
weekly individual therapy
weekly skills training, either in a group, individually or with his/her family (to be determined by therapist)
phone coaching by the individual therapist on the use of skills in everyday life situations.
Although originally developed to treat suicidal, self-injuring adults, DBT has since been adapted to treat a variety of other problem areas. Drs. Alec Miller and Jill Rathus adapted DBT for use with multi-problem, suicidal adolescents, and it is this mode of treatment employed by Shoreline Psychological, LLC.