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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a type of cognitive behavior treatment that is focused on helping people with borderline personality disorder. It can be an effective strategy in changing behavioral and thinking patterns. DBT slightly differs from Cognitive Behavior Therapy in the sense that it focuses on the connection between you and your therapist and the relationship can be used as a tool to motivate change.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

DBT is an innovative approach to deal with people who are difficult to treat in a way which is encouraging and upholds the self-confidence of both persons involved. This new method of talk therapy can be effective for people who manifest strong negative behavior such as:

  • Continuous harming of oneself
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Use of addictive substances to control emotions
  • Eating problems
  • Unpredictable relationships

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Approach

People who are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder often find themselves in an emotional rollercoaster and see the world with a simple view of what is good or bad. They find themselves experiencing one problem after another. Because of the feelings and thoughts involved with their past, family and childhood dilemmas, they do not have an effective means of handling intense emotional surges. DBT is an effective strategy that helps develop coping skills.

The working concept behind DBT is the fact that some people tend to reciprocate a behavior that is found in certain emotional situations such as those within the boundaries of family, friends, and romantic relationships and can be used as a tool to motivate people with borderline personality disorder to change their way of thinking and behavior.

DBT has also been recognized for being a powerful method of treating various other disorders such as substance dependency, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, and depression. Dialectic Behavior Therapy focuses on accepting every patient as who they are while at the same time recognizing that they need to change in order reach their goals.

Characteristics That Makes DBT Effective

For Dialectical Behavior Therapy to be effective, it has to have the cooperation of the patient and has to be voluntary. Commitment and personal responsibility are always enforced along the process. Also, as the therapy involves mutual respect from both the therapist and the patient, partnership to work on the problem has to be in place to make the treatment effective.

For the most part, DBT is support-oriented because it helps a person recognize their strengths so they can feel better about themselves and their life. It gives them a different perspective from what they usually see themselves allowing them to grow emotionally and mentally.

Dialectic Behavior Therapy is also cognitive based in the sense that it helps a person identify negative thinking patterns and beliefs that make life tougher. It also helps a person develop strategies that can assist him to be more receptive to the changes happening within his environment and allows him to accept all the thing happening within him.

Also, DBT is collaborative in the sense that the effectivity depends upon the relationship between the person and the team working with him. DBT requires a person to work on his relationship with the therapist and the therapist does the same to him. The treatment also allows a person to enact coping strategies such as calming oneself when stressed or upset, learning new skills of interacting with others and completing assignments. Skills learned through the sessions help a person master the coping strategies.

Treatment Targets of DBT

When a person enters the treatment process, they usually have several problems that need to be treated. DBT uses a hierarchy to that helps a therapist determine the level of issues that needs to be acknowledged in order to have an effective treatment.

  • Behaviors that can be life-threatening. This is commonly the first issue that is addressed by DBT. When a person exhibits a suicidal tendency or has suicidal attempts, therapist usually incorporate talk therapy and other strategies that would help the patient deal with his changing emotions.
  • Behaviors that obstructs effectivity of the therapy. As part of changing attitude and behavior, DBT also addresses certain behavior that could affect the effectivity of the treatment. This includes non-collaborative attitudes such as canceling appointments and coming late to sessions among others.
  • Behaviors that interfere with the quality of life. Psychological disorders, relationship problems, and other issues that compromise a patient’s life is also acknowledged as part of the treatment.
  • Skills Training. To make the treatment wholly effective, therapists often include skills training so a patient can learn of effective strategies to cope with their constantly changing emotions and thinking pattern.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an effective way of scaling down behaviors that can put a person’s life at risk. It is also effective in treating other problems that cause a person to have troubles living a normal life.


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