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Everything You Need to Know About Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Everything You Need to Know About Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) combines mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy to treat conditions like borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse. It’s one of the most effective ways to relieve emotional turmoil, but it’s not necessarily the easiest therapy method to understand. This guide will give you everything you need to know about DBT including how it works, how much it costs, and how you can find a therapist who specialises in DBT treatment.

What is DBT?

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a psychotherapy approach used for treating those with borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and other self-destructive or impulsive behaviours. Developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the 1980s, DBT has gained widespread recognition in recent years for its effectiveness at helping people cope with life stressors. The primary goal of DBT is to help people learn how to better regulate their emotions and deal more effectively with stressors in their lives—skills that are particularly helpful when trying to overcome an addiction or make other lifestyle changes. One of its hallmark strategies involves helping individuals examine their beliefs about certain situations and reframe negative thoughts into more positive ways of thinking.

How is DBT used?

DBT is used in almost every setting imaginable, but most often it’s used for people who struggle with self-harm and suicidal behaviours. People who have experienced trauma, abuse, addiction and compulsions also commonly use DBT. As a matter of fact, many therapists first use CBT alone with clients with trauma-related conditions. If that fails or falls short, they can then refer their clients to DBT skills classes (more on those below). In a way, DBT is a last resort therapy because therapists will typically only recommend it if other types of treatments don’t work well for people. However, for many clients struggling with extreme emotions and experiences (such as anxiety or suicidal thoughts), DBT ends up being extremely helpful.

What does DBT do?

DBT was developed in an effort to provide a more effective alternative for helping people who suffer from BPD. This alternative takes into account that many people with borderline personality disorder are in need of a therapy that will work harder at helping them build better lives rather than just work on avoiding self-harming behaviours and dealing with emotions differently. While it is still unknown whether DBT is as successful as originally believed, there are still therapists out there who know how to use it and have had success with patients. In order for you to be able to get help with your mental health issues and improve your life, you might want to look up a therapist who has experience using DBT methods.

Who can benefit from DBT?

People who are emotionally reactive and have difficulty managing their emotions. They may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, or anxiety that last from a few hours to a few days. This type of emotional response is different from everyday emotional experiences because it’s out of proportion and lasts much longer than expected. It can also be accompanied by thoughts such as I’m a bad person or the world is awful. People with BPD may benefit from DBT if they have problems with suicidal thinking or other self-harming behaviours. DBT can also help people with addiction who experience strong cravings for drugs or alcohol when stressed.

How long does treatment last?

Depending on a person’s condition, DBT can last anywhere from 6 months up to 2 years. Once treatment is over, people are generally able to use many of DBT’s skills and strategies independently. The thing about getting better is that it’s not really a done thing—it’s more like a keep doing thing. People need support after they finish therapy in order to keep using skills and techniques outside of sessions.

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