What Is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy, commonly called DBT, is a form of treatment intervention designed to help those who deal with extreme emotions. It focuses on the practical skills and coping mechanisms that help the person manage intense rushes of emotions.
Emotions are a part of daily life. You cry when you are sad. You smile when you are happy. You giggle when you are feeling silly. Emotional ups and downs are normal. However, surges of extreme emotions are not. In fact, they can be difficult to understand and scarier to deal with.
Unresolved psychological trauma is often at the heart of extreme emotions. It causes you to get emotional faster and harder than most. It takes you longer to resolve those emotions and to return to a calm emotional state. These surges of extreme emotion are especially difficult in our personal relationships with romantic partners, family members, and close friends, the people we trust and love the most.
Dilectical Behavioral Therapy is a proven therapy to help people who deal with extreme emotions. Research has shown it to be effective for treating Borderline Personality Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as an array of other mental health issues.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy: What Does It Involve?
Dilectical Behavioral Therapy focuses on building new skills to manage extreme emotions while learning how to handle personal relationships in a healthy manner. The therapy focuses on four specific areas:
- Mindfulness – The unresolved trauma at the heart of your extreme emotions happened in the past, though you are dealing with the consequences today. Mindfulness focuses on accepting the present moment and being present in it without emotion.
- Distress tolerance – Extreme emotional surges cause distress and you often react to this by running away or lashing out. Distress tolerance focuses on learning how to tolerate negative emotions in a healthier way.
- Emotional regulation – Intense emotions can cause problems in everyday life, whether in romantic relationships or your relationships with family and friends. Emotional regulation focuses on learning to recognize, to manage, and to change your responses to these intense emotions.
- Interpersonal effectiveness – Many people who deal with extreme emotions have difficulty communicating with others in a healthy way. Interpersonal effectiveness focuses on building skills on how to communicate assertively while maintaining self-respect and strengthening relationships.
The exact form of Dilectical Behavioral Therapy used in treatment can vary from one patient to another. It is based entirely on what you need or what you want to get from therapy.
- Cognitive-based Dilectical Behavioral Therapy – With unresolved trauma, you experience thoughts, assumptions and beliefs that make living life harder than it needs to be. Cognitive-based DBT focuses on teaching you new ways of thinking that will make life easier going forward.
- Support-oriented DBT – Despite what has happened in the past, you are a person with strengths. Support-oriented DBT focuses on building on your strengths to improve your self-confidence and self-worth.
- Collaborative DBT – Interpersonal relationships often suffer when you deal with extreme emotions. Collaborative DBT focuses on the relationship between you and your therapist. This process helps you develop new ways of relating to the people who are closest to you and learn how to manage conflict as it arises.
Our Dialectical Behavioral Therapists at Los Angeles Therapy can help you overcome trauma and learn to manage your emotions. It will help you build and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships. It all begins with you.