Often compared to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy has aspects that differ from it. Notably, DTB is a type of CBT, hence the few similarities. Regardless, DTB differs in the fact that it focuses on the patient’s relationship with others.
It also focuses less on the patient’s past and more on their present behaviors and thoughts.
The different approach doesn’t mean that DTB is less effective than cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It only means that its main focus is to help the patient manage their emotions, thoughts and behaviors enough to relate well with others.
Naturally, you have a couple of questions about the said therapy. Below, we take on the task to answer most of the questions that you may have about it.
What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?
First and foremost, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, otherwise known as DTB, is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Its specific purpose is to teach people how to control their emotions. It also equips patients with coping skills necessary for stress management, relationship skills and the development of healthy behaviors.
How Does it Work?
If you choose to participate in this type of therapy, it’s only right to know what to expect. The therapy sessions are held in four different types of settings or parts. These settings include:
- Individual Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Phone Coaching
How Did it Start?
This type of therapy was discovered from a need or a problem. Dr Marsha M. Linehan and her colleagues discovered that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy wasn’t enough to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. Out of the need to find something that can help with the treatment of the condition, Dialectical Behavior Therapy was developed.
This was in the 1980s, and since then, the treatment has been improved upon. It has also been used to remedy other conditions.
What Other Conditions Can This Treatment Treat?
Given the origins of this therapy and the fact that it aims to treat destructive behaviors, it is versatile. Today, it is also used to remedy substance abuse disorder. It can also be used to help treat people suffering from mental conditions such as:
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Binge eating disorder
- Major depressive disorder
What Are the Characteristics of Dialectical Behavior Therapy?
- This type of therapy operates on certain core characteristics. Regardless of the setting, each session always sticks to the below-mentioned characteristics:
- The identification and analysis of destructive behavioral patterns that are related to substance abuse. Once you’ve done this, the next step is to learn how to replace them with better behaviors.
- You will be encouraged to focus and identify negative thoughts and how they affect your actions. After the identification process, you will be required to learn how to change and manage those thoughts.
- Sessions will include learning strategies to help you accept yourself, your life and emotions.
- Learning how to collaborate and work together with the therapist is essential. It will be difficult at first, but after some time, it gets easier. The better the patient and therapist work together, the better the results.
- You will receive support through constant encouragement. During this, you will be urged to identify, focus and use your strengths and positive traits.
- You will be taught crucial skills to help put what you’ve learned into good use. Of course, you will also be encouraged to use these skills to improve your already existing capabilities.
What Strategies are Used During Therapy?
Certain strategies and techniques are used in the treatment of negative behavior and substance use disorder. They include:
- Distress Tolerance: This is where you learn techniques necessary for dealing with current stressful situations. Techniques such as distractions and self-soothing methods will help you deal with stressful occurrences.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness: This is where you learn relationships skills. For instance, communication skills, listening skills and how to show respect are very important.
- Emotion Regulation: This is where you are taught to identify and analyze your intense emotions. By understanding such emotions, you can control them and replace them with positive ones.
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness teaches you to remain focused and present on what is currently going on. To do so, you will need to slow down, which will, in turn, help you stay calm. Slowing down also means you have time to think through your actions and thoughts, and controlling them.
Is It Right For You?
You may be wondering if this type of therapy is right for you. After all, it’s only fair to be sure that you’re enrolling for a treatment that will meet all your needs. This is what makes treatment all the more effective.
If you know you struggle with controlling your emotions, this treatment is for you. Also, if you struggle with thoughts of suicide or any other mental health disorder, DBT is right for you.
If you’re still unsure of whether it’s right for you, do not be afraid to seek professional advice. Mental health professionals will evaluate your medical records and symptoms to determine your needs.