What is DBT?
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is an evidenced based behavioral treatment, which means there is research to prove its effectiveness. DBT was originally created in the early 90s by Dr. Marsha Linehan as a treatment for suicidal individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. DBT combines elements of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Zen principles of mindfulness and compassion.
DBT has since evolved along with the populations treated. Dr. Linehan found that DBT was an effective therapy to treat individuals that had a history of failed therapy, hospitalizations and other treatments. Research and literature on borderline personality disorder has also evolved, in that many clinicians believe BPD is a product of complex posttraumatic stress disorder, or chronic and pervasive invalidation. In other words, difficulty with mood regulation, excessive self criticism or problems related to self image, patterns of unstable relationships, impulsive or self destructive behavior, and trouble with anger-all make sense given certain biological vulnerabilities in addition to an invalidating environment that is unable to meet the needs of the individual. Similarly to changes of the stigma that has been associated with BPD, posttraumatic stress disorder is no longer seen as a disorder only impacting veterans. You or your loved one may be struggling with symptoms and have no understanding as to why; though we believe that given all experiences leading up to now, everything makes sense.
Regardless of the diagnosis, DBT of South Jersey is interested in addressing your symptoms. Unfortunately, you could receive several different diagnoses along the course of your lifetime, and though it can help to point you in the right direction for treatment, labels can also be limiting.
How Does DBT Work?
DBT as an evidenced based treatment is designed to run as a comprehensive model that includes four modes:
- Weekly Individual Therapy Sessions: Start with one of our therapists trained in DBT.
- Weekly Skills Training Sessions: Group sessions that have a classroom feel, designed to increase your competence in the areas of mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness.
- Phone Coaching: Designed to generalize what is being learned in therapy to your everyday life. Provided by your individual therapist via phone calls or text messages.
- DBT Consultation: Your therapist meets with other trained therapists to ensure they are giving the best care for you or your family member in accordance with the DBT model.