child with therapist

Important Things to Know about Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Finding out a loved one is diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder can be a stressful and challenging time. Much is to be learned about and done in such a situation. A patient and their family may need some time to come to terms with the diagnosis and decide on the right type of treatment. When the patient is willing to seek help, and some people are willing to support them, there would be a variety of medication and therapy to choose from. One of the most widely-known therapies used today is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Centers offering DBT in Westport, Connecticut suggest learning more about this type of therapy so that patients and their family can make an informed decision. Here is a quick overview of the therapy.

What is DBT?

Developed by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan in the 1980s, DBT was born out of the desire to improve treatments for borderline personality disorder. It is a type of cognitive behavior psychotherapy that seeks to help people achieve change in how they think, feel, act, and deal with physical or medical issues. By focusing on the current situation rather than the past, DBT may help a patient deal with their self-defeating thoughts and anxiety, manage medications, and stop harmful practices that may arise from their desire to cope with their condition, such as smoking.

Who benefits from DBT?

The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies recognizes the effectiveness of DBT specifically for patients suffering from eating disorders, insomnia, different types of personality disorders, autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. In addition, the American Psychological Association lists DBT as a useful adjunctive therapy for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. With so many people suffering from these disorders, the demand for DBT has grown over the years.

What are the components of DBT?

The therapy is cognitive-based, meaning that a patient’s problematic thoughts are identified and then challenged. For example, if a patient feels like they will be abandoned if they are not perfect, DBT may be introduced to make the person realize that their loved ones love them despite the imperfections and that they don’t have to be perfect for people to care about them.
DBT is collaborative and support-oriented. It is collaborative because the relationship between the patient and therapist is of primary importance. When the therapist wants to challenge the problematic behavior, they might give homework after weekly lectures and patients are expected to accomplish these. It is also support-oriented because a patient’s strengths are brought to light for them to have a better view of their life and their value as a person.

How does DBT improve psychopathologies?

child talking to therapist

As a form of cognitive behavior therapy, DBT reduces the psychopathology through challenging the problematic patterns of thinking and changing behavior to reflect the change in thinking. Research demonstrates that how a person thinks and how they behave underlie most forms of psychopathologies and that once the behavior is changed, cognition would follow and vice versa.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is seen as an effective treatment for people suffering from a variety of psychopathologies. Learning more about DBT would enable you to help a loved one or even yourself in making an informed choice when deciding on receiving this treatment. With hardwork and constant support, recovery is easy to achieve.

Related Articles