Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is about helping people to hold two opposing truths at the same time. ‘I want to hurt AND I don’t want to hurt.’ ‘I love my mother AND I hate my mother.’ ‘I accept who I am AND I want to change.’ So often we find ourselves vacillating between these truths. When we hold only one truth at a time, we are less emotionally stable and in turn we make are apt make decisions that we later regret. Ultimately, we suffer and our relationships suffer.
DBT therapists believe that people are doing the best they can with what they have at the time. They also believe that people can do better. The DBT skills modules are designed to help people so that they don’t feel stuck in responding to life in the same ways. There are four modules:
Mindfulness: Do you feel like your mind controls you? Do you find it difficult to turn your mind toward something you want to think about? Do you find it hard to turn your mind away from things that you do not want to be the focus of your attention? Mindfulness training in DBT is aimed at helping people gain a sense of control over their minds instead of their minds controlling them. Learning to non-judgmentally notice, observe, and describe your environment takes practice. In this first stage, the role and value of emotional and reasonable minds is emphasized.
Emotion Regulation: Do you wish you could stop feeling the emotions you experience? Do you feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your feelings? Emotions, for many people, are overwhelming and poorly understood. Emotion regulation skills are designed to help people make sense of the valuable information emotions provide. Naming and understanding emotions can help to turn down their intensity.
Distress Tolerance: Do you regret what you do when you’re upset or overwhelmed? Do you engage in behaviors or activities that hurt you and/or other people in the heat of the moment? It is rare for people to make balanced decisions when they are at the height of emotional pain. Distress tolerance skills help people to get through intense emotional pain in new ways, instead of turning to things that ultimately make the situation worse.
Interpersonal Effectiveness: Do you have a hard time figuring out what you really need from others? Do you find it difficult to get your needs met? Interpersonal effectiveness skills help to de-mystify the art of getting your needs met in your relationships. Specific strategies are discussed and practiced.
If you are interested in DBT, contact Dr. Reed at 623.850.3373
For more information on the research basis of DBT, visit: http://www.linehaninstitute.org/research.php