Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

As one of the most innovative and modern types of cognitive – behavioral psychotherapy, the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has revolutionized the way an approach to treatment of a borderline personality disorder was taken up to the late 1980s, when DBT was introduced by Marsha M. Linehan.

The initial approaches to treatment provided highly efficient results, proving that DBT is going to be an important element of revolutionizing the treatment of BPD. After the initial successes, DBT, proven to be a successful and viable treatment option, has been introduced as the treatment for a wide range of other mental health disorders.

We’d like to take this unique opportunity to introduce you the DBT and tell you more about this treatment approach that efficiently revolutionized the Psychotherapy and the success we have in treating BPD as well as the whole range of other mental health issues.

What is DBT?

It’s worth starting by understanding what DBT actually is.

In its essence, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an innovative treatment based on the theory of emotional intensity disorder. The theory is that certain individuals are more likely to have an unproportionately intense emotional response to certain situations and stimuli that the average people would respond to in a much milder manner.

This theory was further approved by scientific studies which had people shown the disturbing images of various kinds. The responses to the stimuli varied from feeling intense emotions of sadness, empathy and dread.

DBT was built on the realization that certain individuals will simply have more intense reactions in family, friend, romantic relationships as well as everyday situations.

Taking into account that the theory acknowledges certain people’s arousal levels can rise at a significantly quicker rate than the average person’s as well as attaining higher levels of emotional stimulation, it’s only normal that it takes longer amounts of time for those individuals to return to their baseline emotional levels.

This problem especially affects people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, as they are prone to experiencing extreme, intense, unexplainable swings in their emotions which propels them towards a single – minded perception due to the overwhelming emotional intensity and most importantly – frequent swings between emotional crises.

Because of the fact that a low percentage of individuals are diagnosed with BPD, most family members, friends, romantic partners and the society in general are unaware and misunderstanding of the issues, overwhelming emotional swings and problems that BPD diagnosed individuals are going through.

This misunderstanding and unawareness of BPD and the issues it brings leaves the patients suffering, unable to get the required support or be provided with efficient methods for coping with these intense, sudden surges of emotion.
That was – until DBT came along.

DBT is one of the most efficient and reliable methods that can be successfully utilized in teaching skills that will aid in this task.
What are the unique Characteristics of Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

Efficiently supportive: The patients will be assisted in efficiently identifying on their qualities and strengths while being supported and taught to focus on them so they can build positive emotions around the positive aspects of themselves and their life.

Cognitive – based: As an efficient form of Cognitive Behavioral therapy, DBT is incredibly effective at assisting you in identifying thoughts, emotional challenges, beliefs and assumptions that are continuously aiding to the negative emotional states you’re experiencing. Exploration and finding of the causations that give birth to the feelings of guilt, angriness, despair, and anguish is one of the elements of treatment DBT is most efficient in delivering.

Highly collaborative: DBT in its very nature simply requires a close relationship between the therapists and the patients. The treatment doesn’t stop with simple interaction and talking session. Even though that talking with the therapist is an important part of DBT, the homework assignments, exploration of new ways in interacting with yourself and the others, and development of skills that assist in more efficient management of emotions are all integral elements of DBT. These skills are taught in a supportive environment on a weekly basis, delivered through weekly lectures and usually reviewed in weekly homework group where the participants are encouraged to share, inspire and support each other, with the supervision and assistance of a licensed therapist.

The unique treatment model of DBT reflected in having both Individual and Group weekly therapy sessions ensures maximized results through the unique combination of professional psychotherapy delivered by the therapists and invaluable social support provided by the group of people undergoing the same issues.

DBT has undoubtedly changed the way Cognitive Behavior Therapy approaches Treatment and it wouldn’t be an overstatement saying that it has successfully revolutionized Psychotherapy.

We believe that, as it is refined, developed and improved, it will continue doing so in the future.

Newport Beach Psychologist, Dimitra Takos, PsyD.