Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an advanced derivation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that was originally developed by Marsha M. Linehan, a psychology researcher at the University of Washington, to treat people with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Our DBT program combines concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness largely derived from Buddhist meditative practice with cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotional regulation and reality-testing. We offer the best and most effective borderline personality disorder treatment in Florida.
Dr. Linehan recognized early on that the chronically suicidal patients with BPD she had been treating had been raised in profoundly invalidating environments. This first step in addressing this was to create a climate of unconditional acceptance. This was followed by identifying the need for a true commitment to treatment from patients, who also need to be willing to accept their dire level of emotional dysfunction.
The DBT approach emphasizes a strong patient-therapist relationship, with the therapist being seen as an ally rather than an adversary throughout treatment. Therapists sincerely accept and validate the feelings of patients at any given time, while simultaneously helping the client realize that some feelings and behaviors are maladaptive, and teaching them better alternatives.
The DBT therapist and patient work through issues experienced by the patient over the prior week, systematically recording them on diary cards. This therapy component follows a treatment target hierarchy. The highest priority in this hierarchy is always Self-injurious and suicidal behaviors. Second in priority are behaviors that interfere with the course of treatment. These are also therapy-interfering behaviors. Third priority is the improvement of the patient’s general quality of life. Individual therapy provides a safe environment for the therapist and patient to work towards improving skill use.
Our DBT Skills Group has two facilitating DBT therapists, meets weekly for two hours, and teaches patients with BPD and other mental health disorders in Florida to use specific skills. These skills break down into four skill-modules: core mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance. Ongoing individual therapy with a DBT therapist is a requirement for participation in the skills group.
The Dialectical Behavior Therapy program at The Delray Center for Healing is the most intensive and well-rounded in the state of Florida. The multidisciplinary Delray Center treatment team has 8 members, including a double Board-Certified DBT psychiatrist. This is the only program that has adapted an introduction level group for immediate participation, a teen-focused skills group, and a full-scale DBT skills group for family members of clients. This comprehensive approach has yielded extraordinary results in even the most complex Florida personality disorder cases.
The existence of multiple skills groups provides options to help accommodate personal and professional schedules. Some prefer daytime groups while others prefer the 6:00 PM groups that allow for a full-time work schedule. The presence of so many DBT trained professionals allows for the possibility for treatment with a DBT psychiatrist, nutritionist, and a number of different individual and family therapists. When necessary, the different Dialectical Behavior Therapy groups can be incorporated into higher levels of care. These include Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP). And, can help with conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and trauma.
The “Introduction to DBT Group” allows for immediate participation in a group setting. all while preparing clients to start the more advanced and structured DBT Skills Group. The introductory group familiarizes participants with the general therapeutic concepts, to facilitate the learning of more advanced concepts later. For both introductory DBT and the full DBT modules, participants are required to be working with a DBT therapist at the Delray Center for individual skills coaching.
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