Dialectic Behavioral Therapy
Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) had originated in the 1980’s by Dr. Marsha Linehan. Dialectic Behavioral Therapy is a cognitive behavioral based treatment which incorporates elements from Zen practices of mindfulness, with skills training. Dialectic Behavioral Therapy is constructed of weekly individual sessions and weekly group sessions with an emphasis on a psychoeducational (teaching) framework. The desired outcome and goals include distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and overall pleasure and enjoyment in life (Hayes, Linehan, et al. 2004).
*Dialectic Behavioral Therapy Skills*
There are four main therapy modules which compose the skeleton of the dialectic behavioral theory. These skills are taught to clients.
The four main therapy modules are:
Being present in the moment and not ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness suggests awareness of what is. “Observe, discribe and participate” encourages being an active participants in the present moment. “Non judgmentally, one mindfully” suggest engaging in one activity or thought at a time.
Learning how to balance your emotions by separating yourself from the emotional experience.
*Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills***
Learning skills to effectively communicate and relate to others as well as getting your needs met. This skill is frequently used in any assertive communication problem solving lessons: the lessons include saying no/boundary setting, assertively asking for what one needs and conflict resolving.
Specific tools to help cope during a distressing moment or personal crisis. An appropriate alternative to self harming behaviors such as substance use, cutting, etc.
The Dialectic Behavioral Program
*Individual DBT:* Individual DBT is a crucial factor in a comprehensive DBT program. Trained DBT therapists work collaboratively with clients, tailoring treatment to specific individual needs. Therapy will address issues that interfere with an individual’s quality of life, and help individuals take steps toward building a better life while encouraging self-acceptance. Sessions are generally once a week. Clients are required to be in individual therapy in order to participate in the DBT group.
*DBT Groups*: Groups are generally from 2-2.5 hours and on a weekly basis. Group focuses on skills from the four modules: Mindfulness, emotional regulation, interpersonal, and distress tolerance. A trained DBT therapist runs groups.
*Phone consultation*: In the event of acute distress, DBT therapists have to be available to their clients over the phone 24 hours. Phone conversations are brief; therapists assess risk factors and review appropriate DBT skills that would help improve the moment.