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Using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Addiction Treatment

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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) uses human behavior psychology and mindfulness techniques to change addictive behaviors. This treatment combines problem-solving, motivational, and behavioral psychological methods to address addiction and its conditioned responses as a whole. 

Although DBT is a new approach to addiction treatment, this method was developed using rigorous research methodology; rather than focusing on one specific aspect of addiction, this addresses the problem at every level. 

Every part of the treatment is proven effective in helping develop healthier thinking and acting regarding substance abuse treatment and prevention. This article will educate you more on this highly effective treatment option. 

What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)?

The treatment approach integrates mindful moment awareness and cognitive-behavioral intervention into a cohesive system.

Dealing with intense emotions can be difficult for all of us. It is understandable that you may be overwhelmed at the thought of bipolar disorder and how it can change the way you think, feel, and act. The skills taught in DBT improve emotional regulation and distress tolerance.

DBT is an evidence-based treatment for emotionally vulnerable people. Those who suffer from serious life struggles such as drug and alcohol abuse, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, unprovoked anger, self-harm, and self-destructive behavior can all benefit from this type of therapy. DBT is based on the idea that people’s behavior is learned, and it stems from the way they perceive and interpret their environments.

DBT is for suicidal adults with a borderline personality disorder. Dialectical behavioral therapy focuses on identifying and changing the negative thoughts and observable behaviors associated with stress or other triggers.

While cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on changing negative thinking, DBT aims to change negative behaviors and interact with others. This unique approach includes training in communication skills, exposure therapy, problem-solving skills, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and mindfulness skills. DBT therapists teach patients skills to help manage their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

Personality Testing in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Therapists developed a personality assessment to identify some of the primary, underlying levels of personality traits. The techniques developed by Hartmann and his colleagues are used in the DBT skills to improve one’s ability to function constructively in daily life.

In Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, the client and therapist work together to create a personality questionnaire. This form lists values in life that are most important in guiding the client to decide on their strengths, weaknesses, and behaviors to help them achieve what they want out of life.

Techniques used DBT

The Dialectical Behavioral Therapy program is designed to help people learn new skills and coping mechanisms, leading more stable and fulfilling lives. Here are a few techniques that makeup DBT:

  1. Group Therapy

Helps you manage your emotions better, decrease stress and learn to engage in healthier relationships. When Group therapy sessions are scheduled they typically last at least 60 minutes and are weekly with an agreed-upon time and date.

  1. Individual Therapy

How Individual therapy in DBT incorporates many of DBTs core strategies, including validation, mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness while focusing on current problems or goals.

  1. Phone Coaching

Recovering addicts are often faced with difficult situations as they transition into sober living. Phone coaching allows clients to call therapists and talk through challenges as they arise. 

  1. Core Mindfulness

Core mindfulness is an essential skill in DBT. It involves moment-to-moment noticing, non-judgmental awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and external stimuli.

  1. Distress Tolerance

Above all other techniques, this is a crucial skill taught during the DBT skills training component of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Distress tolerance includes methods for tolerating distress, distracting from misery, or engaging in behaviors that help a person feel better. 

  1. Interpersonal Effectiveness

DBT’s emphasis on interpersonal effectiveness. Which helps clients develop skills that will make their interpersonal relationships less problematic and improve the way they view themselves within these relationships. Aiming to help the client identify and discourage negative, ineffective behaviors and replace these behaviors with more effective ones.

  1. Emotion Regulation

A complex process that consists of a fluid set of skills to help individuals achieve valued states of being. Clinical psychologists in DBT explore emotion regulation, including how emotion regulation relates to mindfulness and several mediating processes. 

Getting Help in Santa Ana, CA with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we know that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for recovery. One of the many therapies we include is DBT in a client’s treatment plan because it has proven effective for many clients with dual diagnoses and targets a wide range of the symptoms of substance use. Call us at 949-426-7962 and speak directly to a care coordinator now.

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