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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy&DBT Treatment

Dialectical behavioral therapy or DBT is a treatment that was created to help treat individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Patients with BPD have something called pervasive emotion dysregulation, putting it into simpler words, these people struggle to identify and understand what they’re feeling like, and don’t have the effective skills to manage the emotions that result from it. This leads to them turning to self-harming behaviors like substance abuse, suicide attempts, in a desperate attempt to cope with the problems.

This treatment heavily relies on the psychosocial aspect of therapy and tries to identify and change harmful thinking patterns, by putting great focus on developing positive behavioral skills. Before considering DBT, it is also important to understand how the procedure works and who benefits from the treatment, as different mental health issues require different therapies and DBT may not be the option for everyone. Cleveland Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can also help a lot in BPD.

How does DBT Work?

DBT is a form of talk therapy that is made up of the idea that certain types of people are more prone to react intensely and extremely to emotional situations, especially in personal relationships. Created by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the 1980s, DBT was developed to help treat suicidal individuals, and later on, it also treated people with borderline personality disorder. 

Today, a dialectical behavioral therapy approach is recommended for the treatment of personality disorders. The main focus of DBT is to help individuals with negative emotions that become difficult to manage. A therapist’s main goal is to help their client find a positive emotional balance. Sessions are deeply focused on helping the person develop an ability to hold multiple emotions at once. And helping to train them to stop the all-or-nothing style of thinking that leads to a negative and hopeless outlook on life. This treatment promotes acceptance and positive change through four strategies:

Distress tolerance

The practice of learning to accept oneself and your current situation by tolerance and surviving intense emotions like anger and avoiding impulsive reactions like substance abuse to get through moments of distress.


Use different techniques to gain more awareness of self and be more attentive to living in the present.

Emotion regulation

The patient recognizes negative emotions as soon as they occur, adjusting the unhealthy emotions whenever needed.

Interpersonal effectiveness

The patient becomes more confident in relationships by navigating through conflict and promoting more positive interactions.

Types Of DBT Treatments

To treat Dialectical Behavioral Therapy effectively, therapists focus on the most self-destructive behavior, like self-harm. Along with constantly reminding and teaching patients the quality-of-life skills, like distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and effective interpersonal skills.

Individual Treatment

This type of treatment takes place with one-on-one contact with a trained therapist. This helps ensure that specific needs are meet over a certain period. The therapist will help patients stay motivated, apply DBT skills to the situations taking place in their daily life, and address issues that arise throughout the treatment. Individual treatment takes place over a year.Also Check Cleveland Depression Treatment.

Skills Group Treatment

In this context, participants learn and practice skills alongside others who face similar situations. This promotes people to share experiences that increase their support for one another. Similar to individual treatment, the groups are led by a professional therapist who teaches lead exercises, skills, and assigns homework such as mindfulness. Sessions last for about two hours weekly over six months to a year.

How Effective Is DBT?

DBT is a proven way to drastically decrease suicidal outcomes, psychiatric rates, use of emergency services, depression, treatment discontinuation, and substance abuse along with increasing social functioning. Research shows that this form of treatment successfully treats people that experience depression, overeating, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

This led to the American Psychiatric Association endorsing Dialectical Behavioral Therapy as a great treatment method, for those seeking treatment for the following improvements:

  • Less harsh suicidal behavior
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Increase in anger management
  • Fewer chances of dropping out of treatment
  • Improvement in social functioning

DBT has so much more than the skills professionals teach clients. It’s also important how therapists present those skills in an accepting way, and about making sense of the patient’s behaviors. And not targeting them and making them feel uncomfortable even when the behaviors are problematic. Additionally, it’s about developing a deep understanding of the client and his/her patterns so we can figure out the best strategies to help the patients change.

Get Start With DBT Now!

If you believe that you or someone around will benefit from dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Then seek guidance from a professional who understands this treatment approach. Mental health professionals at Cleveland Psychiatric Needs are here to help with your issues.

The core of the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy method is to change negative thought patterns by focusing on positive behavioral changes such as emotion regulation. It is important to find a therapist who has great experience in each of the four stages of DBT. This is because, when done properly, this treatment has a lasting impact and decreases emotional distress.

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