Dialectical behavioral therapy (or DBT) is a type of psychotherapy that’s based on cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT), with a focus on treating severe mental health issues and high-risk behaviors. Unlike CBT, which typically involves approaches to work around and manage uncomfortable feelings, DBT is designed to help individuals accept and live with them as part of their everyday life.
DBT is used to treat a wide range of issues, including anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, bipolar disorders, and more. At Grand Falls Addiction Treatment Center, we also make use of the DBT approach to help those fighting substance abuse problems. Here’s how we do that.
How DBT works
One of the key aspects of DBT is the process of changing unhelpful thought patterns and learning new behavioral techniques. By providing instructions, telling stories, and practicing these techniques in person, an individual can learn a lot of effective ways to change their thought and behavior patterns.
Mindfulness is one of the skills most important to DBT treatment. By helping people be more aware of and be able to focus on the moment, they can become better at observing their own feelings, thoughts, and impulses. This can help individuals see what triggers certain behaviors in them, or how certain factors affect them emotionally.
Another important part of DBT is helping people with interpersonal effectiveness. This can help people better repair and establish healthy relationships while learning to recognize and end harmful ones. Assertiveness training also helps people communicate and enforce boundaries as part of this.
Regulating one’s emotions, by being able to name and identify those emotions and how we respond to them, can help a lot as well. Similarly, DBT can involve learning some level of distress tolerance to better help individuals get through tough moments.
The DBT Treatment
How do we, at the Grand Falls Addiction Treatment Center, make use of DBT in our range of treatments? There are a few different components, including the following:
- One-on-one therapy: Individual weekly sessions which include the learning of new DBT skills, including going over previous efforts and results.
- Group skills training: Developing and practicing healthy coping skills with other people in a positive and supportive environment.
- Phone coaching: In-the-moment advice for how to deal with difficult situations, getting support on which DBT techniques might help best.
How DBT fits with Drug Addiction Treatment
Many of the disorders that DBT treats are comorbid with drug abuse. As such, by helping to treat those disorders, it can also help to change the thought and behavior patterns that lead to drug abuse.
DBT treatments can and are altered to better fit substance abuse treatment, usually by focusing on abstinence as well as by increasing motivation to change alongside the behavioral changes that are part and parcel of the technique. DBT in particular is often used as an approach to treat and prevent relapse, by assessing the events, emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that lead to relapse.
By improving one’s awareness of the negative consequences of substance abuse, as well as the trail of thoughts and actions that can lead to it, there is evidence to suggest that DBT can be an effective component as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
Benefits of DBT in Drug Addiction Treatment
As part of our approach, we recognize at Grand Falls that addiction treatments are not going to be the same for each individual. However, there are significant potential benefits to DBT in drug addiction treatment, which can include the following:
- Decreased substance use
- Less physical discomfort as part of your withdrawal symptoms
- Less substance-based cravings, leading to less temptation and less impulsive behavior
- The enforcement of barriers and boundaries to maintain abstinence
- The understanding and avoidance of triggers that can cause substance abuse
- Understanding and changing your own contributing problematic behaviors
- Improving healthy relationships with people in your environment
Get in touch with Grand Falls Addiction Center today
If you think that a dialectical behavioral therapy approach might help you on the way to treating your substance disorders, or you want some help and you’re not certain which the right approach is, the Grand Falls Addiction Center in Joplin, MO is here to help you. We treat a wide variety of drug and alcohol issues, as well as the comorbid disorders that can have an impact on them. Get in touch with our team and we will start to explore the treatment options that best suit you.