Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

There are many different facets of addiction treatment. Each of these kinds of treatment may be better for one individual than another. Treatment for substance use disorder and other mental health disorders is largely dependent on the individual in question; at least it should be. Either way, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment method. Everybody has their own unique needs, and their treatment should be reflected as such.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavioral therapy is a certain kind of cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of care aims to treat those dealing with co-occurring mental health disorders (commonly referred to as dual diagnoses). Some of these mental health disorders include the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • PTSD
  • Substance use disorder

This method of therapy is used to evaluate the “why?” behind an individual’s actions. In substance abuse treatment, it’s meant to teach those who suffer from addiction to be present in the moment. In addition to this, dialectical behavioral therapy teaches those who participate healthy coping mechanisms for when they experience any sort of triggers. All in all, helping people improve their behaviors and relationships with others is the goal.

dbt for addiction treatmentHow Did Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Begin?

Dialectical behavioral therapy began as a form of care for those who were suffering from a borderline personality disorder. These days, however, it has evolved into a method of treatment that helps a plethora of other mental health disorders. For example, sometimes a person may have a hard time regulating their emotions; either that or they’re being self-aware enough to know what they’re struggling with and how to cope with it.

Sometimes a person may not recognize their self-destructive behaviors. This is why dialectical behavioral therapy is imperative for treating mental health disorders. This is especially true when a person suffers from more intense mental health disorders like PTSD. However, dialectical behavioral therapy shouldn’t always be done alone. Most often, dialectical behavioral therapy is done alongside other forms of treatment. This approach helps a lot with those who suffer from a substance use disorder.

How Does Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Factor Into Substance Abuse Treatment?

Substance use disorder is a difficult animal to tame. This is because addiction is usually motivated by emotional dysfunction and distortion of necessity. Some emotional dysfunction that is experienced is largely considered to be destructive behavior. 

When a person is suffering from a drug and alcohol addiction, their quality of life begins to diminish severely. This is due in large part to the emotional, physical, relational, and mental impact the disease has on a person. As a result, those who suffer from addiction have a hard time remaining stable. Sooner or later, it bleeds into their professional lives as well as their relationships and self-care.

The Anatomy of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy is quite a complex form of therapy. For example, in this form of therapy, there is a process called dialectics. Dialectics is a philosophical process of two contradicting points of view identified to resolve said conflict. In the case of dialectical behavioral therapy, the two contradicting points of view are typically the therapist and the patient. Therefore, the therapist and the patient will work together to come to an understanding (though one-sided as it may be).

dbt for addiction treatment in NJWhere Do Dialectics Come From?

Dialectics come from a few different ideas that include the following:

  • Change is inevitable
  • Change occurs often in life
  • Everything relates to each other
  • Opposing perspectives are okay

Dialectics is a way for people with opposing perspectives to move closer to a place of truth and certainty. However, dialectics shouldn’t be all about progress. Yes, progress is good, but not at the expense of a person’s emotions. In fact, if a person’s emotions are depleted in the name of progress, it’s actually more attune to regression.

Validation on its own, however, is just as destructive as progress for the sake of progress.

Don’t hear us the wrong way, validation is imperative in the treatment of mental health disorders. However, it’s when the ideal of progress is paired with validation that success occurs.

How Does Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Work?

Dialectical behavioral therapy works by helping a person understand themselves and make sense of their behaviors in different environments. Typically, there are three different approaches to the practice of this form of treatment. These three different approaches include the following:

In dialectical behavioral therapy programs, the facilitator of the therapy session (a licensed mental health professional) will meet with a team to determine the best course of action. Whatever they decide will largely depend on the individual’s needs.

Are There Benefits of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

There are many benefits to attending a dialectical behavioral therapy program. However, each case has its own goals and ways to go about achieving those goals. One of the many benefits it does offer, no matter the individual, is making the chance of relapse less likely. There are many ways dialectical behavioral therapy can do this for a person.

Depending on the circumstance and the specific case, this form of therapy can help a person improve. Some ways that dialectical behavioral therapy helps in the context of a substance use disorder include the following: 

  • Decrease in frequency of use/abuse
  • Encouraging healthy decision making
  • Reducing cravings
  • Providing people with alternative safe coping mechanisms
  • Alleviating the symptoms of withdrawal
  • Discouraging negative behaviors
  • Abstaining from hanging around individuals, being in areas, or participating in activities that lead to substance abuse

There are many ways dialectical behavioral therapy can benefit those suffering from substance abuse or a mental health disorder. Some of these benefits are reason enough for a person to participate in dialectical behavioral therapy. 

What Are The Benefits of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

Some benefits of dialectical behavioral therapy include the following:

  • Reorienting negative beliefs, emotions, thoughts, or actions.
  • Replacing negative coping mechanisms or other behaviors with more positive ones.
  • Communication skill development.
  • Recognizing strengths and weaknesses.
  • Becoming more self-aware.
  • Learning new skills.
  • Learning how to adapt to change and negative circumstances.

What Strategies Are Involved in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

Some strategies involved with dialectical behavioral therapy include the following:

  • Regulating Emotions
  • Personal Relationships
  • Trigger & Stress Tolerance

Many different types of strategies are involved when it comes to dialectical behavioral therapy. Some of these include things like tolerance, behavior recognition, and coping mechanisms. These strategies are imperative to a successful recovery experience. All of this helps to prevent relapse and ensure a successful recovery experience.

How Do You Regulate Emotions?

Regulating emotions is done by helping a person handle painful or traumatic memories. This also works with powerful feelings and emotions. When a person regulates their emotions, they will be able to recognize and call their emotions what they are. Identifying feelings is imperative to the process of improving in this aspect of recovery.

Personal Relationships

Dialectical behavioral therapy allows an individual to learn effective skills that will help them develop personal relationships. Not only will it help them develop their personal relationships, but it will also help their confidence to boost in themselves and their interactions with others. Those who participate in dialectical behavioral therapy will learn how to respect themselves and others. 

What is Trigger & Stress Tolerance?

Trigger and stress tolerance is a strategy that helps those participating in dialectical behavioral therapy to accept themselves. Not only does it teach them to accept themselves, but their circumstances as well. For trigger and stress tolerance, those who participate prepare themselves for situations that would incite triggers or negative emotions.

In trigger and stress tolerance, there are certain techniques that apply to this aspect of dialectical behavioral therapy. These include the following:

  • Self-soothing
  • Distracting
  • Positive improvement
  • Positive thinking

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness allows an individual to live in the moment and pay attention to their present circumstances. In dialectical behavioral therapy, it’s imperative to think rationally about positive and negative situations. When a person does this, they can think objectively about the circumstance they may be suffering from. Thinking rationally and objectively is imperative to the recovery process and even relapse prevention. In addition to all of this, those who are practicing mindfulness are able to practice healthier coping mechanisms. It’s imperative to develop healthy coping mechanisms in addiction treatment; otherwise, the chances of relapse could increase drastically. 

Learn More About Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Treatment for substance use disorder is difficult to find, and it can often feel overwhelming. At Achieve Wellness and Recovery, we aim to treat the individual needs of each patient that walks through our doors. Our professional staff desires to provide the utmost in professional care. 

Nobody deserves to have to walk through their struggles alone. That’s why we want to walk with you every step of the way. Dialectical therapy may be the right approach for your mental health condition, or the condition of a loved one. Either way, at Achieve Wellness, we are available to take your call. If you or a loved one would like to find out more, you can contact us here.

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