A Guide To Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

This form of talk therapy has helped myriads of people improve their mental wellness.

Group Dialectical Behavioral Therapy session.

(Ground Picture / Shutterstock.com)

Maintaining your mental wellbeing  is one of the most vital things a person can do for themselves. Luckily, there are a great number of resources that can help one to do so: including yoga, exercise, art, music, and therapy. 

But dealing with life’s stressors  can be harder for some than for others, whether due to genetic factors, economic factors, or factors of circumstance, according to Medical News Today. There are several types of treatment for people with anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders.  One of the therapies that can be used to help people who have trouble regulating their emotions is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DPT, a form of talk therapy.

What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?
DPT is a type of psychotherapy that is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), according to Everyday Health. While CBT was created to help people change their thoughts and behaviors, DBT was created to help people hold two opposing thoughts at the same time (hence, dialectical): one, acceptance, and the other, the ability to change. 

DBT was originally formulated as a way to treat people who were depressed, but it has also been shown to help with other mental health problems such as suicidal feelings, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety

“Through DBT, someone can learn to identify the emotions they’re feeling, learn skills to better cope with and manage their emotions, and work towards their life goals, commonly called ‘life worth living goals’ in DBT,” Ash Shah, a licensed therapist and clinical counseling director at Empower Your Mind Therapy in New York City, told Everyday Health. 

Acceptance and Change
The goal of DBT is to help patients to both accept their emotions and change their behaviors. As such it focuses on both acceptance techniques and techniques for change, according to the UK organization Mind stressed. These may be the key understanding why a person engages in certain behaviors (acceptance) and finding new ways for a patient to react to distressing thoughts (change). DOT therapy usually takes a year to complete.

The core skills that DBT therapy focuses on are: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. Although these may seem like simple things, in reality, they can be very difficult skills to acquire.  

An anonymous blogger for Mind, who had undergone DBT therapy writes, “My greatest lesson was to learn to fail and to accept that this and continued practice was the key to using DBT. The continuity during the therapy was key to addressing some of my worst BPD symptoms. 

If, in these trying times,  you find yourself emotionally vulnerable and sensitive, or you struggle with depression, DBT may be the right therapy for you. 

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