Call Us 24/7:
1 (800) 782-1520

Dialectical Behavior TherapyWhat You Need to Know

When you or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorder or another mental or physical health condition, you may spend a great deal of time researching potential treatment options.

During this time, you might have come across dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)—and wondered if it’s a type of treatment you should consider.

So what is dialectical behavior therapy, and who can it help? Check out our guide to learn more about this type of therapy.

1 (800) 782-1520

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that teaches skills meant to help manage emotions. The therapy was first developed by psychologist Marsha Linehan in the late 1980s and uses talk therapy and DBT skills training to better connect a person with their thoughts, emotions, and actions.

Though the therapy was initially meant to treat borderline personality disorder or suicidal thoughts, it is now used to treat many conditions.

Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy can help people to cope with difficult emotions, handle interpersonal relationships, and more. It offers many other benefits, too, including:

  • Self-acceptance: This form of therapy helps patients foster self-acceptance, make peace with current life circumstances, and process past experiences.
  • Motivation to change: Therapists help patients analyze their problems and find ways to change for the better.
  • Improve behaviors: Those stuck in a pattern of detrimental behaviors can find freedom and the ability to replace behaviors with more healthy decisions.
  • Interrupt thought patterns: Patients who experience negative thought patterns can learn skills to change their thoughts and beliefs.
  • Improved communication: DBT also helps patients develop communication and collaboration skills between their family members, friends, therapist, and psychiatrist.
  • Life skills: Skills learned in dialectical behavior therapy can be applied to all areas of life, enhancing relationships, work, school, etc.

Skills Taught in Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Patients receiving dialectical behavior therapy are typically taught four core skills to help treat their condition:

  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness helps alleviate stress and anxiety by helping a person stay present in the moment. Deep breathing, paying attention to senses, and awareness of thought patterns can increase mindfulness.
  • Distress Tolerance: This skill helps a person accept their situation, even in a state of crisis. Distraction and self-soothing can help boost tolerance.
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: Interpersonal effectiveness relates to boundary-setting and self-advocating while still maintaining healthy and loving relationships. A person can improve relationships by being gentle, showing interest, and validating feelings.
  • Emotion Regulation: A person with strong emotion regulation can identify and take charge of their emotions, even when feeling sad or angry.

Man receiving dialectical behavior therapy.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Techniques

There are several different techniques employed in dialectical behavior therapy, each with its benefits. From one-on-one therapy sessions to phone coaching, patients receive a well-rounded treatment style to help address their needs.

One-on-One Therapy Sessions

Most one-on-one therapy sessions occur for one hour every week. During this time, the patient can discuss any problems they’re having and talk about skills for managing life challenges.

Group Therapy Sessions

Some dialectical behavior therapy programs also include group therapy sessions, in which patients hone specific skills for handling substance use disorders, depression, and more. These programs usually last six months to a year.

Phone Coaching

Those seeking added support may be able to talk to their therapist over the phone in between private therapy sessions. This phone coaching can help patients who get overwhelmed by problems when away from their therapist.

What Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Help With?

Dialectical behavior therapy can help treat many conditions, such as:

  • Substance use disorder
  • Depression
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Binge-eating
  • Bulimia
  • PTSD
  • Bipolar disorder

Try Dialectical Behavior Therapy at Pinnacle Treatment Centers

Pinnacle Treatment Centers provides the most effective, evidence-based forms of therapy for those struggling with substance use disorder and addiction. Our experienced team of clinicians offers dialectical behavior therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), family therapy, and more.

Looking to learn more about dialectical behavior therapy? Contact Pinnacle Treatment Centers to get answers to your questions.

Subscribe Subscribe to our email list to get the latest Pinnacle Treatment Centers information right to your inbox
Join our Talent Community! We'll notify you about relevant openings and keep you in mind whenever we have new opportunities.