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What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy and What is it used to Treat?

Dialectical behavior therapy also known as DBT, is a type of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy established in the late 80s by Dr. Marsha Linehan, as a form of treatment for borderline personality disorder and other mental health disorders like self-harming or suicidal behavior, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and depression.

Dialectical behavior therapy treatment is a modified version of psychotherapy. It is commonly known as talk therapy, and it employs a cognitive behavioral approach. DBT accentuates the psychosocial aspects of the treatment of many disorders. In simple terms, dialectics means attempting to understand how opposite positions go together. As an example, treatment by a DBT therapist will try to find a harmonious balance between self-acceptance and making positive changes.

The method is based on the fact that some people tend to react in a more intense manner toward emotional circumstances, and mostly those circumstances based around romantic, family and friend relationships.

Dialectical behavior therapy philosophy proposes that some people can have quicker arousal levels in these types of situations than the average person. They are also believed to achieve an advanced level of emotional stimulation and take a longer time to come back to baseline levels.

Borderline Personality Disorder and DBT

People diagnosed with borderline personality disorder often experience extreme mood and emotional swings, and often appear to be shifting from one catastrophe to another. Because these swings are difficult to understand and deal with, there are scarce coping methods to deal with these types of emotional surges. Dialectical behavior therapy is a technique that teaches the right skills to help manage these seemingly unpredictable and intense shifts. DBT helps you to alter unaccommodating behaviors and also has an emphasis on self-acceptance at the same time.

How Does It Work Against Self-Harm, Depression, Drug Abuse and Other Disorders?

Dialectical behavior therapy helps to introduce an emotional and cognitive regulation by teaching what triggers the reactive states and attempts to help avoid these reactions by assessing which coping skills can be helpful during these types of events.

Borderline personality disorder sufferers and those who are suicidal or engage in self-harm tend to experience heightened emotional intensity; can frequently irritated; deeply frustrated; unhappy, and anxious, which suggest that learning to regulate their emotions will help their situation.

Emotion regulation is the key to the success of DBT. Emotional regulation is the ability to respond to the range of emotions in a way that is socially acceptable. Dialectical behavior therapy skills for emotional regulation include learning to identify and label emotions, learning to identify obstacles to change emotions, growing positive emotional events, increasing mindfulness to current emotions, applying distress tolerance techniques, and more.

How It Helps to Battle Depression

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is effective for treating many symptoms of depression. These include concentration difficulties, tenacious sadness or anger, suicidal thoughts, or thoughts of death, along with treating chronic pain and headaches, and other physical issues that don’t respond to traditional treatments. Regular Dialectical Behavior Therapy treatments will help to increase motivation, remove self-destructive behavior by assisting patients to trust their own emotions, thoughts and experiences.