Dialectical behavioral therapy is a treatment method that can change people’s unhealthy behavior and negative thoughts. A psychologist named Martha Linehan originally developed this evidence-based therapy for people with borderline personality disorder, but it also benefits people living with other high-risk, difficult-to-treat mental health issues that adversely affect their health and quality of life, such as PTSD, depression, anxiety and dual diagnoses. Through DBT, you can learn new coping skills and manage urges to engage in harmful or self-destructive behaviors.
How Does DBT Work?
DBT revolves around the concept that therapy should be a genuine relationship between the client and their counselor, who work together to set and achieve shared goals. The word dialectical relates to the ability to simultaneously hold conflicting viewpoints. A therapist trained in DBT will help you harness the power of two opposing forces to heal – change and acceptance.
In addition to meeting with your therapist in regular treatment sessions, you will need to do DBT homework to hone the skills you learn in therapy. For example, your therapist may suggest keeping a daily journal of your emotions.
In DBT, you will progress through four stages.
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness exercises teach DBT participants to absorb, observe and process what is happening to them in the moment. Mindfulness techniques include tactics such as routine meditation.
- Distress tolerance: This phase of DBT helps people attain skills that help them become more resilient in the face of problematic events.
- to pinpoint the source of an intense emotion and respond to it logically and appropriately.
- Interpersonal effectiveness: In the final of DBT, you will learn how to communicate more confidently and assertively. This portion of therapy focuses on interactions where the goal is to create a transactional change or gain respect from the other party.
What Is Radical Acceptance?
Radical acceptance is a DBT distress tolerance skill designed to keep pain from turning into suffering. When confronting a situation they cannot change or control, many people try to push back against it or ask themselves unhelpful questions like “Why is this happening to me?” instead of accepting reality. This mindset keeps you stuck in a cycle of intense negativity.
Within the distress tolerance module, there are four skill categories.
- Distracting helps clients change their focus from upsetting thoughts and emotions to more enjoyable or neutral activities.
- Self-soothing is about using your five senses to stay calm and grounded.
- Improving the moment asks you to use techniques like creative visualization and positive self-talk to help yourself feel better.
- Focusing on pros and cons can help you understand the benefits of radical acceptance and reduce your impulsive reactions.
Start Your Recovery Journey at Hope by the Sea
Often, drug or alcohol use begins as a misguided coping mechanism. People misuse these substances to mute the symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. DBT can be a beneficial part of your recovery journey because of its unique approach to mental health and wellness, including promoting acceptance and change.
With DBT, you can envision, articulate, pursue and sustain new goals that are separate from your history of mental and behavioral health disorders. The radical acceptance skills you learn in DBT allow you to acknowledge and tolerate circumstances beyond your control, preventing you from getting stuck in unhappiness, bitterness, anger and sadness.
At Hope by the Sea, our experienced team offers specialized services for treating addiction and mental health. Because we understand everyone has different needs, we also have specifically designed treatment programming, tracks and levels of care. To learn more, contact us today.