DBT: What You Need to Know

Healthcare wellnessEmotions are a part of everyday life. And as we grow older, we learn to cope with feelings by allowing or disallowing them to influence our actions. But in some cases, one simply needs additional skills to accept, process, and act out these emotions more effectively.

This is where Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Westport comes in.

What is DBT?

Originally developed in the 1980s by Marsha Linehan to address suicidal individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), DBT is a form of “talk therapy” that aims to build the following:

1. Mindfulness skills – reducing negative thoughts and consciously choosing to focus on the moment

2. Distress tolerance skills – developing personal strategies to manage emotions

3. Emotion regulation skills – lessening the suffering of overwhelming, intense, and shifting emotions by understanding the root of such and knowing personal vulnerabilities.

4. Interpersonal skills – formulating and sustaining effective communication for better relationships and interactions.

Addressing the issues

Depending on the diagnosis, patients who undergo DBT are usually those with problem behaviors that need to be addressed by order of priority. These are:

1. Behaviors that threaten the patient’s life – suicidal / self-harming tendencies and other actions related to causing harm to self.

2. Behaviors that hinder therapy – such as habitual tardiness, missing or canceling therapy sessions, non-collaborative attitude towards the treatment

3. Factors Affecting Quality of Life – relationship/family problems, bullying incidences, financial difficulties, etc.

4. Acquiring Skills – curbing and managing problematic behaviors, and replacing them with effective and productive ones

Stages of treatment

Dialectical Behavior Therapy involves four steps of treatment, each not limited to a specific period. The therapist determines the length of the stage according to the severity of the problematic behaviors, or the progress made by the patient.

Stage 1 – shifting from self-harming and self-destructive behavior to achieving control

Stage 2 – reducing traumatic stress by focusing on emotional experiencing

Stage 3 – bringing back happiness into everyday life by trusting and valuing one’s self

Stage 4 – developing a sense of connecting to a greater whole; finding and living with deeper meaning via spirituality

Finding the right place to start

Whether you are seeking help for yourself, your child, a friend, or a relative, finding the right facility or therapist can help you determine if the right path is going for dialectical behavior therapy.

In Westport, you have access to professional mental health services where you can inquire, consult, and request for individualized programs.