Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of psychotherapy used to treat a variety of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety and addiction. DBT stems from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a form of therapy that deals with the thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and actions of a person.

If you or a loved one is looking for a dialectical behavior therapy center, get in touch with our treatment facility in Mission Viejo, CA!

Typically referred to as “talk therapy”, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of psychotherapy that treats people who experience emotions intensely. DBT helps people learn to accept themselves for who they are and positively changes their lives by getting rid of harmful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

DBT originates from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of therapy used to treat a person’s cognitive functions. DBT focuses on emotional and social functions, while CBT focuses more on behaviors. Both are effective methods of therapy, but they are used to treat different types of mental illness.

An American psychologist named Marsha Linehan developed DBT in the 1970s. It was originally designed to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD) but is now used to treat a variety of mental health conditions as well as substance abuse.

The Cognitive Triangle

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) treats conditions that relate to the “cognitive triangle”, or thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. When a person is suffering from a substance use disorder or another mental health condition, they may experience intense emotions. These strong feelings can lead to sporadic or irrational behavior that is harmful to them and others.

A person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are controlled by the brain. The goal of DBT is to help people get rid of negative thoughts. Therapists interpret negative thoughts that clients have and promote positive thinking.  When you have a mental health disorder, your brain is suffering from a disease. With proper treatment from a dialectical behavior therapy center, the pain of mental illness can be alleviated.

Benefits of DBT for Addiction

DBT has been effective in treating substance use disorders and mental health conditions. When incorporated into your treatment plan, DBT helps with the following:

DBT helps individuals develop skills to regulate their emotions effectively. This makes it a great option when treating depression in California because individuals with depression often struggle with overwhelming emotions. DBT equips them with techniques to identify, understand, and manage these emotions, reducing the impact of negative emotional states.

Mindfulness is a central component of DBT. It involves being fully present in the moment without judgment. This can be particularly helpful in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression by promoting awareness of thoughts and emotions, and breaking the cycle of rumination.

DBT teaches communication and relationship skills, helping individuals build and maintain healthier relationships. Improved interpersonal effectiveness can contribute to a more supportive social environment, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness often associated with anxiety and depression.

DBT emphasizes the development of distress tolerance skills to cope with crises and high-stress situations. These skills prevent impulsive and harmful behaviors, providing healthier alternatives to cope with difficult situations and emotions. This is a useful skill to help prevent relapsing.

DBT has been adapted for addiction treatment. It addresses the emotional dysregulation that often underlies addictive behaviors. By teaching individuals healthier coping mechanisms for emotional distress, it can contribute to breaking the cycle of addiction.

DBT incorporates cognitive restructuring techniques that help individuals challenge and change negative thought patterns contributing to anxiety and depression. By altering distorted thinking, individuals can develop more balanced and realistic perspectives.

DBT emphasizes finding a balance between accepting oneself and making positive changes. This acceptance can be crucial for individuals dealing with mental health disorders, fostering a non-judgmental attitude towards their struggles while working towards improvement.

DBT is flexible and can be adapted to individual needs. Therapists work with clients to tailor the treatment to their specific challenges, making it a versatile and personalized approach.

DBT is designed not only to alleviate current symptoms but also to provide individuals with lifelong skills for emotional regulation and interpersonal effectiveness, reducing the likelihood of relapse.

The Goals of DBT

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) aims to help clients cope with intense emotions in a healthy manner. Although DBT was developed to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), its success has made it a common form of treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.

The main goal of DBT is to replace negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with positive ones. In order to do this, clients must be open and willing to receive treatment. DBT requires the commitment of both the therapist and the client to be successful.

Substance abuse can affect people for their entire lives, but there are ways you can mitigate the symptoms. This is why forms of therapy such as DBT have been developed. You can find freedom from drug and alcohol abuse just like anyone else. Make the decision to turn your life around today. Get in touch with a dialectical behavior therapy center to discuss treatment options.

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How Does Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Work?

First clients receive a pre-assessment, and a licensed therapist will determine if DBT is the right form of therapy for them. They may run diagnostics such as screening questions and physical exams. Then you will agree to the length of therapy and commit to the treatment.

Individual therapy consists of weekly sessions with a therapist, lasting from 40-60 minutes. Some of the goals covered during individual therapy include:

  • Keeping you safe by reducing self-harming behaviors
  • Limiting behavior that interrupts productive therapy
  • Addressing what’s blocking your therapy goals
  • Helping clients achieve personal progress

As opposed to group therapy, skills training is more like a class lecture. Clients with similar mental health conditions or substance use disorders learn healthy ways to cope with and control their emotions. Some major skills you will learn during these sessions are:

  • Mindfulness
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
  • Distress tolerance
  • Emotional regulation

DBT typically includes telephone crisis coaching, when clients in distress can call their therapist outside of sessions to talk about overwhelming emotions or cravings. This provides clients with extra resources for support during recovery.

Following this format, therapists and clients work together at a dialectical behavior therapy center to overcome the symptoms of addiction. The skills developed during this time can be applied to any situation a person is faced with.

DBT in California
man in group therapy

How Does DBT Work as a Mental Health Treatment?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was developed to treat people who experience emotions intensely. Coping with these emotions is difficult and can lead to substance abuse among other negative behaviors. DBT provides clients with healthy ways to cope with symptoms of mental illness.

Mental health disorders affect the brain and cause impairment. Instead of using medicine to alleviate symptoms of mental illness, forms of therapy have been developed to treat these conditions. While medicine helps relieve symptoms of mental illness, it can lead to addiction and further mental impairment.

DBT Techniques for Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety cause intense feelings of sadness, loneliness, stress, and hopelessness. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) helps you overcome these emotions by providing healthy coping mechanisms. DBT is effective because clients can openly discuss their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a comfortable environment.

Battling depression and anxiety feels like a never-ending struggle. You may have difficulty doing things you once enjoyed and normal life feels overwhelming. Over time, your brain becomes more and more damaged by these conditions. Allowing yourself to get help is the best way to find healing. It may seem like a daunting task, but you must be the one to seek treatment.

Participating in group DBT sessions connects you with others who are familiar with your condition. You will find comfort in knowing that others face the same struggle as you. A professional therapist helps guide the topic of conversation and provides feedback for you and others in therapy.

How to Find the Right Facility or Therapist Specializing in DBT

A therapist who offers dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can be a psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse, psychologist, family therapist, or social worker. Your chosen therapist should be someone you can be open with and trust.

It may be difficult to find a therapist or dialectical behavior therapy center that is right for you. Do not let this turn you away from receiving treatment. Ask your doctor, friends, or family members for a referral and consider a few options. Make sure that your chosen therapist is a licensed professional.

Make sure to confirm whether the treatment center you are considering caters to your specific needs, whether related to addiction or mental health. Many facilities provide details about the range of conditions they address on their websites. It’s also advisable to contact a therapist directly, either by phone or email, to inquire about their experience and capability in addressing your particular concerns, be it related to addiction or mental health.

DBT at 449 Recovery is Available

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can relieve clients suffering from addiction or mental health challenges. Located in Mission Viejo, CA, 449 Recovery offers a comprehensive DBT program. We work with each client to determine what treatment is best for them based on their evaluation. To make treatment more accessible, we’re in-network with insurance providers.

If you or a loved one may benefit from our dialectical behavior therapy center, don’t hesitate to contact us today!