Dialectical Behavior Therapy

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy designed to help people suffering from a borderline personality disorder (EID). It has also been used to treat mood disorders and those who need to change unhelpful behavior patterns such as self-mutilation, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), compiled by Linehan, was originally developed for individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder who show risky behaviors and adapted for many groups (such as eating disorders, university students) who have problems with emotional and relational dimensions in the following years. Dialectical Behavior Therapy consists of a consultation group of specialists offering individual therapy, skill training, and counseling.

            Dialectical Behavior Therapy, a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy, was named dialectical because it embraces the reality that there are opposites in every situation we encounter in life and believes that these contrasts should be synthesized. The most fundamental dialectic advocated in Dialectical Behavior Therapy is that clients should accept themselves as they are right now, and at the same time, change to achieve their goals and live a life worth living. The main goal of Dialectical Behavior Therapy is to help clients change their behavioral, emotional, intellectual, and relational patterns that cause problems in their lives by teaching them the necessary skills that are lacking in their repertoire.

            Dialectical Behavior Therapy was developed primarily to work with and treat individuals who are chronically suicidal and have Borderline Personality Disorder, who have severe difficulties in regulating their emotions. While developing the treatment, the most common characteristics of these individuals were their inability to regulate their intense emotions, their inability to stop acting according to their emotions and their inability to act independently of their emotions in a way that would enable them to achieve their long-term goals. Because emotion regulation causes difficulty in controlling impulses, relational problems and instability in self-esteem in these individuals, Dialectical Behavior Therapy has begun to teach emotion regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness and effective interpersonal relationships. Studies have shown that Dialectical Behavior Therapy is seriously effective in providing recovery in this client group. Dialectical Behavior Therapy anger control problem, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, eating disorder, substance use/addiction, and attention deficit, as it was later understood that the main problem in many psychological disorders was excessive or inadequate control of emotions and the resulting cognitive and behavioral problems. With clients struggling with hyperactivity disorder, it has also been proven to be effective in these client groups.

            Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, a modular therapy method, consists of 4 units: individual therapy for the client, group or individual skill training for the client, telephone coaching by the therapist between sessions, and the therapist’s participation in the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy consultation team. Depending on the difficulty and problem area and the client’s needs, the necessary ones from these 4 components can be applied and those that do not seem necessary can be removed.

For example, while the treatment with clients who need individual therapy includes all 4 units, individuals who do not need individual therapy can only be given skill training.

Last Updated on January 5, 2021 by Marilyn Walker

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