Over the past decade or so, dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, has grown from a little-known treatment to one of the world’s most popular and effective therapy options. Many rehab facilities offer DBT. In addition, some of the most effective psychotherapeutic approaches incorporate elements of this potentially life-saving treatment. For several reasons, dialectical therapy services as well as other addiction and mental health therapies may be crucial to your recovery.
What Are Dialectical Therapy Services?
Marsha Linehan originally developed dialectical behavioral therapy to help people with borderline personality disorder or BPD. BPD is a challenging mental illness that interferes with regulating emotions, coping with distress, tolerating abandonment, and avoiding manipulating others. Before DBT, many people with this disorder spent a lifetime pursuing treatments that didn’t work. When DBT arrived, it was a serious game-changer.
In recent years, therapists have begun using DBT to treat other conditions. Those conditions include depression, anxiety, and some personality disorders. They also include substance problems in people affected by additional mental health issues. Research suggests that dialectical therapy services can be highly effective. That’s especially true for people who have difficulties with impulse control and managing strong emotions.
How Does Dialectical Therapy in Rehab Work?
How do dialectical therapy and rehab work together? One of DBT’s many strengths is that it’s extremely formulaic. This makes it relatively easy to track progress and ensure the therapy is used correctly.
A DBT therapist offers help in a validating, judgment-free context that makes it easier to express yourself. There are four distinct components to the therapy itself:
- Individual therapy occurs at least once per week – Through individual counseling, therapists work to address self-injuring behaviors. From there, the team targets behaviors that interfere with therapy, such as lying or skipping sessions. Finally, individual therapy focuses on improving quality of life using specific exercises to promote distress tolerance, encourage self-soothing, and teach healthy emotional and social skills.
- Group therapy, which usually occurs once or twice a week – During group therapy, which typically lasts several hours, group members discuss and work to cultivate four key skills: mindfulness, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance.
- Therapist consultation – Working with people in DBT is exhausting and challenging work. Most DBT therapists meet with other DBT practitioners to discuss their work and solicit feedback at least once per week.
- As-needed coaching – This coaching usually occurs over the phone, but in the context of rehab, it may take place in person. Brief coaching sessions help patients implement skills specific to common challenges. For example, a woman struggling with a breakup may seek phone coaching when she’s tempted to harm herself in an attempt to regain the attention of her former lover.
DBT is similar to other mindfulness-based treatments. Specifically, it focuses on noticing and neutrally analyzing emotions, then re-framing them. For instance, a man who feels suicidal because of a breakup would be encouraged to notice these feelings. He would then consider why he might be experiencing them, as well as better ways to cope with his distress.
Is a Dialectical Behavior Treatment Program in Boise Right for Me?
Dialectical behavioral therapy has been carefully studied, and thousands of patients have seen positive results with this approach. That’s true even when other treatments have failed. Like all treatments, though, DBT is not for everyone. It tends to work best for people who struggle with emotion management and social skills.
This means that your diagnosis isn’t all that matters. You must also consider how your condition affects your daily life. One person with depression may primarily struggle with sadness, making her a poor candidate for DBT. But a person whose depression causes him to lash out at others, desperately seek emotional support, or lie might be well-suited to DBT.
Is a dialectical behavior treatment program in Boise the right choice for you? Talk to your therapist about blending DBT in with your other treatments. Even if it doesn’t work for you, the therapy is completely safe and will not return your recovery.
Choosing a Therapist for DBT in Boise
If you pursue DBT in Boise, be sure to request a therapist who has specifically trained in its use. Why? As the therapy has increased in popularity, the number of therapists who administer it without formal training has also risen. If you’re seeking a therapist on your own, be sure to ask plenty of questions. A good therapist will be happy to provide you with timely answers. Some questions to get you started include:
- What specific training do you have in DBT?
- How long have you practiced? How long have you offered DBT?
- Do you use DBT purely, or do you blend DBT with other methods?
- Am I a good candidate for DBT?
- If DBT doesn’t work, what will we try next?
- How can I track my progress?
- How often will I need to come to therapy?
- Do you develop a personalized treatment plan for each patient, and what can I expect from treatment?
- Are you licensed to practice? In what state?
- Have you ever been disciplined by an oversight board?
Remember, therapy is designed to help you get results as quickly as possible. Stick with it, and you may be surprised by the improvements you experience. If you don’t see improvements, though, don’t be afraid to pursue a different approach or try a new therapist.
Get Information on a DBT Program in Boise at Northpoint Recovery
Are you or your loved one looking for a DBT program in Boise? Talk to the specialists at Northpoint Recovery. We include a range of options in our full slate of substance recovery services. Our customized options help you simultaneously address all aspects of your mental health, not just addiction. To learn more about our many programs, call us today at 208.486.0130.