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What is Dialectal Behavior Therapy?

What is dialectical behavior therapy? Also known as DBT, it originally emerged from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Both DBT and CBT shape thought and behavior for the better. As evidence-based therapies, DBT and CBT show positive and beneficial outcomes.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy Meant to Treat?

DBT treats any type of mood or thought disorder. Treatment for substance abuse issues commonly use DBT. However, professionals use dialectical behavior therapy to address personality disorders featuring significant mood swings. Many people find themselves with symptoms similar to a mood disorder when they are abusing substances. DBT can also be used to treat an underlying disorder that may be causing substance abuse issues. There is still some overlap with DBT and CBT. While CBT primarily impacts disordered thinking, DBT impacts disordered emotional states. Many people in the throes of a substance abuse issue don’t possess complete control over their emotions. Substances can make it difficult to manage someone’s emotions successfully, and a failure to manage emotions successfully can potentially lead to relapse.

Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy

DBT teaches patients skills that they can use to manage their emotions and their interpersonal relationships. When going through DBT therapy, a patient will discuss their needs with a therapist. A therapist will go over how the patient can become more mindful of their emotions, control their emotions, and become comfortable with negative emotions and experiences. In DBT, therapists will discuss how to look at problems from different perspectives and how to work towards the most positive outcomes for everyone involved actively. DBT does take time. Because patients are essentially relearning how to think and how to moderate their relationships, they may need to learn multiple DBT coping skills, or spend some time “practicing.”

Why Should You Try DBT?

You may wonder what dialectical behavior therapy best use is. If you’re someone in recovery from substance abuse, and you’re wondering what dialectical behavior therapy is, you may be wondering why it’s a good option for you. DBT is a good option for you if:

  • You find yourself struggling to control your emotions. For example, you may find yourself irritable or frustrated frequently, or oscillating wildly between feeling very good and very bad.
  • Unmanageable negative emotions. You may find yourself turning towards substance abuse if you feel depressed, anxious, sad, or otherwise negative. DBT is designed to help you healthily feel your negative emotions. Negative emotions often can’t be avoided or written out: instead, they need to be experienced and understood.
  • You are damaging your relationships. Have you found that the people closest to you are pulling back? It could be because you aren’t able to manage your emotions correctly and communicate with them appropriately. DBT focuses more on relationships than CBT. It creates ways you can see things from other people’s points of view and appropriately react.
  • You are struggling to maintain yourself at work. Maybe you feel as though your work is pointless. Perhaps you can’t manage your emotions or get along with coworkers or bosses. DBT can help you manage the emotions and reactions you have to other people, to make your work life (and personal life) more stable.

Dialectical behavior therapy is another way to “relearn” how you think and feel. For those who have suffered from substance abuse, it can be a challenge: substance abuse can rewrite how you react to people in terms of mood and empathy. Interested in learning more about DBT? Call us at 717.969.9126 at The Ranch PA, and we can help.

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