A Guide to the Ins and Outs of DBT Therapy

DBT, or Dialectical Behavior Therapy, is a type of therapy that helps in the treatment of a variety of diagnosed mental health conditions. It teaches individuals valuable skills that can aid in the changing of negative thinking and behavioral patterns that individuals living with mental health issues often face.

The Delray Center for Healing offers DBT on an individual basis as it pertains to individual needs. Find out more about DBT to see if this type of therapy is something that may assist you or a loved one diagnosed with a mental health issue.

Learn more about what DBT is and how it helps people with a variety of diagnosable mental health issues. Read: A Complete Overview of DBT

What is DBT?

What is DBT?

DBT has been a staple in mental health treatment for almost 30 years. Before its adoption and implementation into regular treatments, therapists struggled to find a way to help specific types of patients struggling with severe depression and suicidal thoughts. DBT offers a way for people dealing with these issues to work on positive thinking and self-confidence. As a result, they get more from therapy. And, learn to instill these skills into daily life, leading to real, lasting, and positive change.

The creator of DBT, Marsha Linehan, got the inspiration for DBT by recognizing that her patients with personality disorders gained more during therapy sessions by analyzing and acting out examples of real-life scenarios. This way, patients are guided to practice desirable responses. And, allows for positive outcomes from therapy sessions for people specifically living with mental health issues dealing with self-harm; drug addiction, depression, PTSD, borderline personality disorders, eating disorders, and more.

Learn more about the founder of DBT. Read: Three Interesting Facts About the Creator of DBT

DBT Modules

DBT Modules

Firstly, DBT revolves around four core modules of care. These four concepts help individuals develop the skills they need to process the emotions and experiences they have in their daily lives. The four DBT modules include:

Mindfulness: Essentially, the goal of mindfulness is to be able to remain in the present moment. Often, when individuals face negative emotions, they may not be able to identify them. Without identifying negative emotions, it’s challenging to identify how to prevent them from occurring. Practicing mindfulness helps a person to practice observation so they are aware of their current feelings and label them as either positive or negative.

Interpersonal Effectiveness: This module of DBT includes aiding individuals in the development of effective interpersonal responses. This can include helpful strategies for maintaining healthy relationships. For example, helping individuals learn to set boundaries, say no, and express their needs and wants. Plus, deal with interpersonal conflicts which may also negatively impact relationships.

Distress Tolerance: You can’t just forget how you feel or past experiences. But, you can learn to tolerate these things. Distress tolerance focuses on identifying negative feelings you have and the trauma you’ve experienced so you can learn to accept these things so you can eventually heal.

Emotional Regulation: Finally, the fourth module of DBT is emotional regulation, which is working on managing emotions so they don’t lead to relapse or unwanted behaviors. This can include working on implementing a number of skills like identifying emotions, adjusting emotions, increasing positive emotions, practicing mindfulness, giving alternative responses, and using distress tolerance methods.

Learn more about the four modules of DBT therapy and how they’re utilized throughout various therapy sessions. Read: Understanding the Four Modules of DBT

DBT Functions

DBT Functions

During DBT therapy sessions, individuals can count on learning and practicing a number of things in order to enhance their treatment outcomes. And, give them the tools needed to take what they’ve learned to the outside world.

According to the National Institutes of Health, treatment that involves DBT has five functions. These five functions are:

Capability Enhancement:

Individuals seeking help through DBT often need help enhancing specific capabilities in order to move forward successfully with therapy. These capabilities include emotion regulation, mindfulness (ability to remain in the present moment), communication and relationship skills, and distress tolerance (knowing what to do in situations of high stress). These skills are identified, evaluated, and practiced during DBT sessions so individuals may enhance these capabilities in order to improve their treatment outcome success.

Capability Generalization:

Not only do individuals in DBT sessions need to enhance the capabilities listed in the above paragraph, but they need to utilize these enhanced skills in their daily lives. This takes practice outside session walls into a client’s own home environment. Capability generalization may include assignments to practice certain capabilities and report back during sessions about progress. This allows for real-life inclusion of what’s learned in therapy so that these improved skills may be utilized long term.

Motivation Improvement and Reduction in Unwanted Behaviors

Without motivation, individuals will lack the encouragement to change their behaviors. So, a part of DBT is to increase an individual’s willingness to change behavior by improving motivation. During DBT sessions, individuals will work on addressing their most self-harmful behaviors. This allows for the identification of how and when these issues began. And, address how these behaviors are negatively impacting one’s life. Thus, giving individuals the motivation they need to work on changing these unwanted behaviors. Furthermore, during DBT, therapists can help to pinpoint why these behaviors are recurring. Plus, use motivation techniques that can assist individuals with actually wanting to change behaviors – encouraging them to make a true and lasting transformation.

Therapist Capability Enhancement and Maintenance

This vital function of DBT includes maintaining and enhancing therapist success in sessions. It involves sessions in which DBT therapists meet to solve problems in terms of utilizing effective treatment approaches to assist in the overcoming of clinical obstacles.

Environment Structuring

The final function of DBT, environmental structuring includes preparing an individual with an environment that promotes healthy behaviors. This means an environment that does not trigger the reverting to past, negative behaviors. And, one that contributes to the use of effective strategies learned and practiced upon during DBT sessions. To ensure proper and successful environment structuring, sessions may include discussing avoiding specific people or places that may trigger reverting to past behaviors.

DBT Skills

DBT Skills

All in all, the goal of DBT is to help people take skills learned throughout these therapy sessions into daily life. Consequently, when people can utilize the skills they learn in DBT in real-life situations, they can better control how they respond to situations. And, give themselves a better understanding of how to accept how they feel and better recognize how they’re feeling.

Some of the skills to learn through DBT that can help individuals living with a wide range of mental health issues include:

A No-Judgement Attitude:

Personal judgments can often interfere with our feelings and even the decision we make. During treatment for mental health, it’s important that we don’t let our personal judgments get in the way of experiencing feelings and impacting decisions. Fortunately, DBT allows for a no-judgment approach when it comes to therapy sessions. This allows individuals to evaluate their feelings and decision-making without personal judgments getting in the way.

Accepting of Reality:

A Guide to the Ins and Outs of DBT TherapyWithout acceptance, we can’t move past negative and harmful issues or experiences we’ve faced. DBT helps individuals accept emotions and trauma they may have experienced throughout their lives. This way, they can work on how to manage these issues and move forward with healing. Individuals living with mental health issues like addiction and other conditions which DBT can assist with often experience trauma, impaired emotional regulation, and other issues that can impair acceptance. So, learning acceptance is a vital first step to successful treatment and engaging the healing process.

Being Present:

Mindfulness is the ability to remain present and take in the here and now. This is a vital skill to learn for individuals who are dealing with mental health issues that affect emotional regulation. Being worried about the past or future can lead to overwhelming emotions like shame, guilt, and remorse. But, with mindfulness, a person can learn to remain in the present moment and deal with present circumstances. Plus, address the emotions they’re experiencing now. DBT helps present and instill mindfulness by utilizing methods such as examining current thoughts and emotions and identifying why these emotions are present.

Find out more about the skills that you’ll learn in DBT sessions. Read: 3 DBT Skills Everyone Can Benefits from Learning

Who DBT Helps

Who DBT Helps

DBT serves a wide range of people because it can address a number of issues, even for people who aren’t necessarily diagnosed with a personality disorder or chronic depression. The skills learned throughout DBT sessions are vital life skills that can equip any individual with a better understanding of their own emotions and how they elicit responses from us. That’s why it’s such a helpful, widely-utilized tool throughout the mental health treatment world.

It can be helpful to identify not only what DBT does, but who it can help. This way, more people can begin to understand the efficacy of this therapy and open their minds to trying it for themselves.

DBT Helps With Harm Reduction

DBT is well known for its success in helping with harm reduction. This means that DBT is successful in helping individuals who perform physical self-damage without the intention of suicide. Self-harm is thought to be a way for individuals experiencing negative emotions to cope. DBT can help individuals who experience this type of distress coping by improving relationships, offering alternative means to cope, and increasing self-confidence.

Find out more about how DBT helps with harm reduction. Read: 4 Ways DBT Helps with Self Harm

DBT Reduces the Risk of Suicide

Not only does DBT help with self-harm, but it also helps to reduce the risk of suicide for individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts. Specifically, it’s helpful in reducing the chance of suicide for individuals in their teenage years. With numbers of teenage suicides growing with each new year, DBT is showing to be one of the most useful and successful treatments for teenagers living with depression who may self harm or experience suicidal thoughts/glorification.

Find out more about how DBT helps prevent suicide. Read: DBT Effective in Reducing Suicide Amongst Teens

DBT Helps People Struggling with Addiction

DBT is widely accepted as a successful treatment for individuals living with addiction. During active addiction, individuals adapt to physical dependence by developing self-destructive behaviors. DBT helps to identify these behaviors and motivates individuals in treatment for addiction to change behaviors. Thus, improving emotion regulation, relationships and communication skills, and reducing the risk of self-harm.

Individuals getting professional help through treatment, whether in a residential or outpatient setting, can expect to utilize DBT. This is due to the overwhelming success rate of this treatment modality for these individuals. And, how it can help drastically reduce an individual’s chance of relapse, which is the contributing factor for the high rate of overdose deaths in our nation.

Learn more about how DBT can help people living with substance abuse disorder. Read: Can DBT Help with Addiction?

Other Mental Health Issues DBT Can Help With

Along with individuals living with suicidal thoughts or conducting self-harm behaviors and addiction, DBT can help individuals with other mental health issues too. Some of the conditions and people DBT is known for helping include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • PTSD
  • Mood disorders
  • Borderline personality disorders
  • Abuse survivors

Learn more about the conditions DBT helps with and find out if it can help with your mental health diagnosis. Read: Mental Disorders That Benefit From DBT

DBT Group Therapy

DBT Group Therapy

DBT sessions don’t just have to be one-on-one therapy sessions between a patient and a therapist. Group allows for multiple individuals to have guided therapy sessions with a therapist along with individual DBT sessions. This allows for different session capabilities and the practicing of various skills learned during individual DBT sessions.

The benefits of DBT group for people dealing with all sorts of mental health issues are many. These benefits can include:

Increasing Emotion Management and Regulation:

A Guide to the Ins and Outs of DBT TherapyA group DPT setting allows for different practices of emotional regulation and management skills. With a peer group, individuals don’t just have their therapist engage in role playing and discussing real-life scenarios but have active participants to engage in these practices. Thus, giving individuals the exercise required to participate in emotion management skills within their own lives.

Improving Relationships, Communications, and Boundary Setting:

During DBT sessions, individuals work on communication skills and boundary setting. Meanwhile, giving individuals tools to develop and maintain healthy relationships required for successful recovery post treatment. Having DBT group therapy sessions allows individuals to practice these newly learned relationship skills and even develop relationships with peers in these groups. Therefore, helping to implement these positive relationship building skills in everyday life.

Reduce Self-Harming Behaviors:

Individuals who may benefit from DBT sessions are often diagnosed with mental health issues associated with self-harming behaviors. DBT is a behavioral therapy that can help with the reduction of self-harm thoughts and behaviors. In addition, it helps individuals identify, accept, and regulate their emotions before they can lead to self-harming behaviors. DBG group sessions allow individuals to further their practice of emotional regulation and addressing self-harmful thoughts with peer activities and discussions.

Check out more about what you can expect during Group DBT sessions. Read: What Group DBT Therapy Is Actually Like

Is DBT Right for You?

Is DBT Right for You?

Wondering if DBT may be right for you? DBT is one of the most commonly utilized and successful therapy tools known for individuals diagnosed with a number of mental health issues. But, you still may be wary about if this type of therapy is right for you or will really work. So, if you’re not sure whether or not DBT is right for you, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you ready to change behaviors that are negatively impacting your life?
  • Are you ready to make a commitment to change these behaviors?
  • Can you get on board with group therapy sessions?

If you’ve answered, “yes”, to these three questions, then you may be successful with DBT. And, this therapy may give you the knowledge and skills you need to manage some of the symptoms of your mental health diagnosis.

Still not sure if DBT is right for you? Find out what you can expect from DBT sessions. Read: How to Determine if DBT is Right for You

Learn More About DBT From Delray Center for Healing

Delray Center for Healing is an outpatient mental health treatment facility located in Delray Beach, Florida. We offer a number of counseling and psychiatric services intended to assist people with getting the help they need to manage symptoms of mental health issues such as:

To conclude, find out more about our locations, holistic therapy offerings, Delray Beach psychiatrist services, therapy, medication management, and more right on our website. Finally, to talk to us about our comprehensive, personalized outpatient depression treatment approach and DBT sessions, please contact us today or call 888-699-5679.