Dialectical Behavior Therapy – Counselors in Columbia SC
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an intervention intended for clients with borderline personality disorder, but it is increasingly being used for many other disorders because of its usefulness with clients who are unable to self-regulate and deal with stressful moments in their lives. is an intensive, highly structured program that’s been adapted specifically for adolescents with extreme emotional instability, including self-harm and suicidal ideation. The “dialectical” in DBT means the therapy works by dealing with two things at once that might seem contradictory: acceptance of feelings (mindfulness) and learning to use thinking to change feelings (CBT). DBT can used and help these clients with skills to better manage their emotions.
Using the DBT theory differs from traditional therapies such as CBT, since it can be applied to different areas when working with clients facing a broad range of conditions (including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder) in which emotional regulation plays a key role.
Through understanding and experiential exercises, the client will explore the four modules of skills taught in DBT (Core Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness) and learn how to utilize these skills in their daily lives. The therapist helps the client learn how to format DBT skills and to provide the structure needed with client’s feels disregulated.
What skills does DBT teach?
DBT skills training is very structured; for adults, as well as, adolescents, it consists of five modules:
- Mindfulness skills: Being present in the moment and understanding the signs of unregulated emotions
- Emotion regulation skills: Coping with difficult situations by building pleasant, self-soothing experiences to protect from emotional extremes. There is a focus on the physical body: eating properly, getting enough sleep, taking their medicine and avoiding drug use or other maladaptive behaviors.
- Interpersonal effectiveness skills: It’s often interactions with others that are the negative triggers for impulsive behaviors. The purpose is to teach adolescents how to interact more effectively with others, and enable them to feel more supported by others.
- Distress tolerance skills: It’s being able to recognize urges to do things that would be ineffective, such as hurting themselves or trying to kill themselves and consciously controlling them.
Walking the middle path skill: Clients learn how to validate one another, how to compromise and negotiate, and how to see the other person’s side of things. This has to do with acknowledging multiple truths in the person’s worldview as contrasting to ‘I’m right and you’re wrong’.