DBT Skills & DBT Groups
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is more than just another method of psychotherapy used by treatment centers and therapists. DBT is an evidence-based therapy that can help you to learn to control your behaviors, fully experience emotions, solve ordinary life problems, and feel a sense of connection to the world and people around you.
DBT is a powerful modality that can help you improve your overall quality of life by teaching you useful skills. DBT has been thoroughly researched in numerous clinical trials and has proven to be effective with a variety of psychiatric disorders and life problems.
DBT was developed in the 1970s by Marsha Linehan as a way to treat the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The therapy, a modification of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), was designed to help people engaging in self-harmful behaviors such as cutting and suicidal thoughts and attempts. This new type of therapy, called DBT, includes concepts such as mindfulness, validation, acceptance, and dialectics.
DBT was determined to be so effective for treating Borderline Personality Disorder and self-harmful behaviors that its use expanded to treat the following disorders:
- Depression and mood disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Substance abuse
- Eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder
No matter what psychiatric disorder or addiction you receive Dialectical Behavior Therapy treatment for, you will undergo the same type of DBT therapy. You will be paired with a DBT therapist who is trained in the DBT model and who will help to coordinate your treatment with other providers, such as psychiatrists or vocational counselors. Your DBT therapist will help you keep track of how your treatment is progressing and whether or not you are meeting your goals.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy treatment is made up of three components:
- Individual DBT therapy: When you undergo DBT treatment, you will have weekly individual DBT sessions with a trained DBT therapist. These sessions usually last an hour to an hour-and-a-half.
- DBT skills groups: As part of your DBT treatment, you will participate in weekly DBT skills groups that emphasize the following skills: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation.
- DBT phone coaching: In addition to in-person therapy, you will also have the option of contacting your DBT therapist for DBT phone coaching sessions. Phone coaching can be a vital component of treatment if you are about to engage in self-harmful behaviors.
DBT Stages and Targets
Dialectical Behavior Therapy organizes treatment into DBT stages and targets so that you can first address issues that are life-threatening or preventing you from effective treatment before learning new coping behaviors. DBT is organized into the following four stages:
- Stage 1: The first stage of DBT therapy will help you to become more in control of your behavior. During this stage, you will learn to reduce and eliminate life-threatening behaviors and behaviors that interfere with treatment, decrease behaviors that affect your quality of life, and learn skills to help you improve your relationships and have better emotional regulation. You will also address any co-occurring disorders you may have, such as depression, anxiety disorders, or eating disorders.
- Stage 2: During the second stage of DBT therapy, you will focus on learning to fully express your emotions so that you are no longer “suffering in silence.” You will work with your DBT therapist to address any trauma or symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and find ways to experience your emotions without shutting down.
- Stage 3: The third stage of DBT therapy addresses how you solve ordinary life problems, such as relationship issues or career concerns. During this stage, you will learn techniques for solving these types of problems so that you can lead a more functional life.
- Stage 4: During the final stage of DBT therapy, you will work with your DBT therapist to find a way to feel a sense of connection to others and the world around you.
DBT Treatment at the DBT Center of Southern California
The DBT Center of Southern California offers one of the most extensive and flexible continuums of care available anywhere. We offer a full continuum of comprehensive DBT treatment programs, including residential DBT, day treatment DBT, and outpatient DBT programs, to help you achieve lasting recovery.
All DBT programs include individual DBT therapy sessions, DBT skills training groups, and DBT phone coaching. Our expert team of DBT therapists has received intensive training from Behavioral Tech, Marsha Linehan’s training institute, or UCLA Harbor Hospital’s DBT training program.
If you or a loved one are struggling with an issue and need Dialectical Behavior Therapy, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-573-0770 to ask questions and receive a free assessment.