Sometimes, talking things over with a trusted friend or loved one can help you feel stronger and think more clearly. Imagine not having anyone to talk to. Then, imagine having a mental health issue like severe depression and no one with which to share your experiences or thoughts. We all need to express our feelings and our pain.
Maintaining our mental health is crucial to our well-being. Talk therapies are used increasingly with mental health disorders, substance use disorders (SUDs), personality disorders, and other mental health issues. Interestingly, some forms of talk therapy practiced thousands of years ago are still effective today.
The focus of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), when used with treatment, is to develop acceptance while promoting behavioral changes. This allows for the normally opposing influences to work together, aiding recovery.
What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?
DBT is a talk therapy designed to help people manage mental health challenges. DBT came from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a talk therapy. Originally, DBT was a comprehensive, evidence-based treatment to assist individuals struggling with borderline personality disorder (BPD). This therapy places emphasis on the management of extreme emotions.
The word dialectical means “acting through opposing forces.” DBT is rooted in science and accedes to the opportunity for individuals to control strong emotions. DBT also works together with CBT treatments to help individuals build healthy relationships.
DBT is a comprehensive cognitive-based treatment that addresses more complex and difficult-to-treat mental health disorders. DBT is also a treatment for people with multiple mental health diagnoses. This therapy serves the following functions:
- Enhance behavioral capabilities
- Improve motivation to change
- Help generalize abilities to the environment
- Structure the treatment environment
- Enhance the therapist’s capabilities for effective treatment of clients
The functions may include individual psychotherapy, group skills training, phone consultation, and a therapist consultation team.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Empirically supported treatments are those treatments rooted and proven in controlled research. DBT is an empirically supported treatment for individuals diagnosed with BPD who display dangerous, life-threatening behaviors. Examples of such behaviors are attempting suicide and self-injury.
BPD is a “Mental illness that severely impacts a person’s ability to regulate their emotions.” People who struggle with BPD experience extreme mood swings. They may feel uncertain about how they see themselves and rapidly shift their feelings about others. People with BPD also tend to view things in extremes.
Studies show that 75% of individuals with BPD have a history of one suicide attempt or more, and 90% have a history of non-suicidal self-injury. It is crucial for those struggling with BPD to receive treatment as swiftly as possible. Individuals with BPD possess a biological propensity to struggle with more intense and reactive emotions than normal.
Telepsychology and Phone Coaching in Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Teleconferencing from home to see a doctor is now almost commonplace, especially since the pandemic drove the need for stay-at-home services. Considering the success of telehealth, it only makes sense that other agencies and businesses follow suit.
Although trials continue on telepsychology with DBT, the focus is on making contact between sessions. Face-to-face therapy remains the standard option, however, while data collection continues on the similarities and differences between treating individuals in the office and via teleconferencing.
Telephone coaching is also a relatively new treatment mode in DBT. Its use aims to help prevent suicidal behaviors and repair deterioration in the relationship between the client and therapist. Phone coaching also helps individuals generalize skills they learn in treatment to their everyday lives.
Texting is also used for DBT and provides another effective medium for giving and receiving care. Texting is convenient and works well for people who cannot talk on the phone or prefer texting over talking. Telephone coaching is especially favorable among lower-income individuals who cannot easily attend face-to-face sessions between regular appointments.
Other Dialectical Behavior Therapy Benefits
Emotional dysregulation refers to a person’s inability to control emotional reactions to stimuli. The desire for emotional regulation encourages and motivates many individuals to seek mental health treatment. Encouragement, motivation, and various treatment modalities convince people to enter treatment programs. Deciding on the most effective mix of therapies can be challenging, but it can make a difference in an individual’s recovery progress.
In addition to the benefits of DBT for BPD, DBT can reduce anxiety, stress, and trauma symptoms. DBT is also effective in helping to manage the following mental health issues:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Eating disorders
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Recovery
Your therapist or doctor may add DBT to your treatment plan to manage extreme emotions, affect communication, or both. If you are in treatment or recovery and believe DBT might help, ask your therapist or doctor if it would be a consideration. Dialog is imperative for healing, and you must be able to communicate your feelings peacefully. No one has to go through recovery alone.
At SoCal Mental Health, we believe that mental health is a part of your well-being. We understand that it takes vigilance and persistence to learn and manage symptoms related to mental health and substance use disorders. Our programs help clients manage treatment and recovery using planned and defined therapies to aid treatment and recovery. Using evidence-based treatment methods, we help clients receive personalized care to promote long-lasting recovery. At SoCal Mental Health, we offer dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to our clients to help them with numerous mental health disorders. Our highly trained and experienced clinicians can help you find the healing you deserve. To learn more about our program, call us today at (949) 502-2041.