DBT is more intense than other forms of behavioral therapy and is reserved for complex mental health concerns and high-risk patients.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT therapy) is a practice utilized in psychotherapy that is rooted in scientific evidence. This form of cognitive-behavioral therapy offered in our Delray Beach treatment center consists of four main components: individual therapy, skills training, phone coaching, and professional DBT group therapy.

By combining these practices with methods like tracking emotions and behaviors, therapists aim to assist patients in better identifying and understanding why they feel the way that they do and how these thoughts and feelings can lead to undesirable behaviors. The final goal is for the patient to develop distress tolerance skills, mindfulness skills, coping skills, interpersonal effectiveness skills and emotion regulation skills.

While similar approaches are used in other forms of behavioral therapy, DBT is most successful when used for the treatment of specific personality disorders or those who suffer from self-destructive behaviors and intense emotions or urges.

Woman being comforted by a professional at her dialectical behavior therapy (dbt) session

What To Expect From DBT Therapy

When a patient begins Dialectical Behavior Therapy, it typically starts slowly, with the therapist aiming to ensure comfort and establish trust. The beginning sessions typically revolve around the patient sharing information about themselves and the problems that they are facing through individual sessions or DBT skills groups.

From there, DBT therapists asked patients to keep what is referred to as “diary cards.” These cards are completed daily and ask that the patient honestly reports their emotions, behaviors and any urges that they may have throughout the day.

Through this process, patients work with the therapist to identify how certain emotions or thought patterns may trigger impulsive or destructive behaviors. This enables the therapist to work with the patient to teach them new skills like healthy coping methods or emotional regulation skills.

If they experience urgent impulses or a desire to self-harm, they can receive phone coaching to guide them through the process as they continue to learn and implement these newly learned DBT skills.

Additionally, healthcare professionals are also involved in the DBT program to ensure that the patient’s mental disorders are managed appropriately with medications that they may need. The healthcare team works directly with the therapist and the patient to ensure that the doses prescribed are effective and able to aid in the overall treatment process.

Who Is DBT Used For?

What is dialectical behavior therapy

DBT program is more intense than other forms of behavioral therapy and is reserved for complex disorders and high-risk patients like veterans and first responders. In many cases, these patients have mental disorders like borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, mood disorders like bipolar, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and psychotic disorders like schizophrenia.

Some of these disorders are more challenging to treat than others, and the specific treatment plan and level of care required are determined on a case-by-case basis. Many of these disorders come along with severe self-destructive behaviors like self-harm, suicidal idealizations, drug and alcohol use, pyromania and compulsive gambling. By equipping patients with the knowledge needed to identify and re-route the thoughts and emotions that lead to these behaviors, they can stop them before they occur.

At this point, the patients then aim to institute some of the new skills that they have learned. For example, if a patient is experiencing extreme stress from work, they may feel compelled to engage in drug use. When they can understand that these feelings trigger drug use, they can acknowledge that they feel stressed and then use a coping skill like meditation to regain control before it leads to drug use. DBT therapy sessions is an ongoing process, and depending on the circumstances, may be required for several years.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy at Olympus Recovery

Olympus Recovery is an outpatient addiction treatment center in Delray Beach, FL that offers Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to treat mental health disorders and co-occurring substance abuse. We are here to help you every step of the way. Contact us here or give us a call at (866) 305-7134 to learn more about our DBT treatment program.


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