Dialectical Behavior Therapy
in Orange County, CA

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a powerful method backed by science that allows individuals to control painful emotions and build healthy relationships. Together with the precursor Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), these evidence-based modalities are considered the gold standard in emotional management and growth. Dialectic, or “balancing opposites,” refers to the philosophy behind the system.

DBT embraces the only two–seemingly opposing–healthy options in a difficult situation: acceptance and change. In practice, however, it is not baffling–it’s highly effective. DBT is a therapy that was created to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD) but has now been used to treat a variety of other conditions.

DBT can effectively help treat:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance abuse disorder (SUD)
Photo 1-min

Acceptance Skills


Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of everything internal and external to one’s body or mind in the present moment. Backed by the science of neuroplasticity, mindfulness is the cornerstone of many beliefs worldwide. In the case of DBT, mindfulness can be broken into observing and describing. 

To observe something is to sense or feel it without trying to describe or put labels on it. One recognizes or notices. The most significant benefit of mindfulness is that it settles consciousness. Eventually, one can see things without getting a constant narrative from a chattering mind. 

The skill of describing is the use of words to express what you see. It is a reaction to observation–naming what has been witnessed. Assigning labels to behavioral and environmental occurrences is critical for communication and self-control.

A person records repeated thoughts that produce tension, stress, shortness of breath, or other sensations. People can be aware of how specific ideas make them feel without assigning any value. Instead, simply identify thoughts and feelings as they come and go to understand them better.

Photo 2-min
Photo 3-min

Distress Tolerance

An individual’s capacity to control their internal emotional state in reaction to stress-inducing circumstances is referred to as distress tolerance. If a person has a poor distress tolerance, they are more prone to feel overwhelmed by slightly stressful events, perhaps resulting in undesirable mental and behavioral responses. There are a few simple techniques that can be used to manage distress.

Distraction may be a highly efficient technique for increasing distress tolerance and entails employing strategies to divert attention away from distressing sensations. Improving the situation involves using a range of methods to help make the unpleasant situation bearable. Visualizing a peaceful scenario, seeking the silver lining, or taking a mental break to do something enjoyable are all methods to improve the experience. 

As a way to cope with the stress, one approach is called Pros and Cons. It includes seeing the possible benefits and drawbacks of accepting or denying the problem. It may help make quick, big-picture decisions.

Self-soothing refers to the process of learning to relax oneself and keep unpleasant emotions under control. To manage distressing circumstances, a person can employ many types of sensory input, such as vision, sound, smell, or touch in order to ground the individual in the present moment.

Change Skills

Interpersonal Effectiveness

For success in relationships, one needs to ensure that the people around you can help you achieve your objectives. The aim is to re-energize relationships, establish fulfilling and new ones, and mitigate any harmful connections. Relationships thrive when they achieve balance, and it’s vital to have acceptance with each balance shift.

Interpersonal effectiveness skills are acquired via learning and are not always achieved through natural intuition. Building good connections can be difficult. The inner critic can stop people from making valuable bonds, causing them to miss out on chances for growth and happiness. However, interpersonal skills allow all parties to have their needs met while respecting healthy boundaries.

Photo 4-min
Photo 5-min

Emotional Regulation

Emotional modulation is any activity that changes the feeling’s intensity. It doesn’t imply burying your feelings or ignoring them. Instead, it relates to having control over one’s emotions and developing a spectrum of techniques to do so. Emotional control abilities enable a person to influence their feelings and the way that they communicate them.

We come across a great deal of powerful emotional stimuli each day. It’s easy to be triggered by unpleasant thoughts and feelings. Emotional regulation can operate as a filter by keeping a person in the loop about important information inherent in thoughts and emotions and makes a person prioritize it in a way that will not overwhelm them.

How Treatment Centers Can Help

Treatment centers utilize components of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to teach clients essential behavioral strategies, enhancing their coping capacities. Skills training groups within these centers function akin to educational classes, where instructors guide clients through tasks, supplemented by homework to integrate these strategies into their daily routines.

Individual therapy offers a personalized approach, fostering clients’ motivation to apply their skills in real-life situations. Typically, this involves weekly one-on-one sessions that run concurrently with skills group meetings, each session lasting about an hour.

Additionally, phone coaching or real-time problem-solving support is provided to help clients apply their learned skills to handle immediate challenges, reinforcing the application of DBT principles outside of therapy sessions. This aspect of treatment allows clients to consult their therapists, acting as life coaches in times of need, thereby ensuring continuous access to therapeutic guidance. Residential clients benefit from even greater access to therapeutic resources and direct interaction with their DBT instructors, facilitating a comprehensive and supportive treatment experience.

Call Now Button