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Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy is similar to cognitive behavioral therapy but has a number of differences especially targeted at helping individuals with substance use disorders and other mental illnesses navigate a safe recovery. This program focuses less on changing behaviors and more on understanding them in order to provide patients with a less negative, more compassionate approach to their recoveries. Many different detox and rehab facilities utilize this therapy as part of their treatment programs.

Call 800-483-2193 now to speak with a treatment advisor and to learn more about dialectical behavior therapy. We are happy to help you find the best treatment facility for your needs as well as answer any questions you may have about addiction recovery.

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

dialectical behavior therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy can help you live a happy, drug-free life!

Dialectical behavior therapy was developed by Dr. Marsha M. Linehan in the 1980s as a way to treat individuals with borderline personality disorders (Addiction Science & Clinical Practice). Dr. Linehan found, as she was working with patients with severe depressive symptoms and suicidal tendencies, that cognitive behavioral therapy was limiting as a treatment option.

  • Dr. Linehan felt that the program was asking patients to change their behaviors rather than understanding them and helping them navigate them safely.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy was her solution with an emphasis on the theory of dialectics. The dialectic method states that truth can be established through reasoning arguments about opposing forces (specifically the forces of change and acceptance).
  • The theory states that everything is interconnected and that change is constant.
  • Rather than asking patients to stop acting as they have and to reestablish better behaviors, the program spends more time trying to help the client understand and solve their current problems.

The program’s main goal is to help patients build a happier, healthier life that they can better enjoy. Many patients have found it to be a sensitive approach that helps them in their recoveries immensely.

How Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Work?

Dialectical behavior therapy is more focused on helping patients build the life they want to live, rather than concentrating on problem behaviors and the mistakes of the past. For this reason, it makes many patients feel accepted as they navigate the difficulties of recovery.

  • Patients learn in dialectical behavioral therapy the same general concept found in cognitive behavioral therapy: that negative behavior patterns are learned. However, the program is more positive and generally optimistic than cognitive behavioral therapy. The program maintains that people do the best they can in the situations they are currently in and that they can make changes to improve their situations. The blame doesn’t always have to rest on the shoulders of the patient, but they must be willing to create change in order to minimize their problems.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy teaches patients that both their environment and their own vulnerability are the main causes behind their mental health issues and substance abuse. These two variables are studied with the patient at great length. An invalidating environment is one that does not provide the individual with the respect, kindness, and understanding they deserve. Patients become emotionally vulnerable either because of a trauma or because of their genetic disposition.
  • Patients are asked to do things like become more emotionally available with their counselors as well as with their loved ones. They are also asked to take the steps to deal with their usual, day-to-day problems so that tackling bigger issues won’t be as difficult.
  • Patients learn practices such as mindfulness meditation, emotional regulation, and distress tolerance so that they can work harder at solving the issues in front of them. According to Winona University, distress tolerance is an extremely necessary part of the program for recovering dual diagnosis patients. Individuals with dual diagnosis have consistently been found to experience higher distress intolerance, which could make them turn back to substance abuse. Treatment often focuses intensely on building up one’s distress tolerance.

Dialectical behavior therapy can take place as individual or group therapy, and many patients build strong bonds with their counselors. This program is focused on giving patients a more positive outlook, a belief in their abilities to create better lives for themselves without shame or blame.

Call now to find recovery programs that offer DBT!

When Should Dialectical Behavior Therapy Start?

Dialectical behavior therapy can ideally start during detox. Doing this can help the individual make a smoother transition into addiction treatment. Also, many people struggle with severe depressive symptoms as well as other psychological issues early on in withdrawal, and this program could be essential in helping them cope.

Some individuals may not be prepared for dialectical behavior therapy at the very beginning of detox, especially if they are dealing with a syndrome like delirium tremens (alcohol) or drug-induced psychosis (stimulants). If this is the case, therapy can start when the individual is slightly more stabilized.

Medication Maintenance Therapy

How Long Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Last?

Dialectical behavior therapy may last for months or even years in order to be effective for individuals recovering from substance use disorders and mental illnesses. The program is focused on small victories, so patients must not be rushed out of treatment too soon. It could continue after detox and into addiction treatment, and some individuals may choose to continue seeing their counselor as a form of aftercare.

Where Can I Find Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

This is a fairly new therapy program, but it is now the standard form of treatment for borderline personality disorder. It has also been found to be highly effective for dual diagnosis patients, which is why more and more counselors at detox and rehab facilities across the country are adopting this program. You may also be able to find counselors who practice dialectical behavior therapy out of their own offices.

Seek Safe, Effective Detox Treatment Now

We are always available to help you find detox treatment for drug and alcohol dependence, as well as answer any questions you might have about recovery. Call 800-483-2193 now to speak with a treatment advisor, and begin your life anew by taking the first step.