Teaching clients how to live in the moment and providing the skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict with others is what Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is all about.
How Does DBT Work?
DBT focuses on teaching clients skills in four main areas — mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
- Mindfulness: Clients are taught how to focus on the present and what is going on around them—the touch and feel of things, sounds, images, etc. By learning how to do this, they can also learn to pay attention to what is going on inside of them—their thoughts, feelings, sensations, and impulses— in non-judgmental ways. These skills help people to stay calm and avoid engaging in negative thought patterns and impulsive behavior.
- Distress Tolerance: This focuses on teaching clients how to accept themselves and their current situation. They are taught how to tolerate a crisis using distraction, self-soothing, finding ways to improve the moment, and turning to the pros and cons of not tolerating the distress. This helps people to keep a more positive outlook long-term.
- Emotion Regulation: Counselors work with clients to identify, name, and ultimately change their intense negative emotions. By recognizing and coping with these emotions they can reduce their emotional vulnerability and experience things in a more positive way.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness: Clients are taught how to be more assertive in their relationships, i.e. saying “no” and sharing their needs. They are taught how to listen and communicate effectively, deal with difficult people, and respect themselves and others. It is all about keeping relationships positive and healthy.
What Types of Issues is DBT Helpful For?
DBT was originally created to treat Borderline Personality Disorder but in recent years has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of other mental disorders, including:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Binge Eating Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Major Depressive Disorder
At Move Forward we have counselors trained in using DBT to improve clients’ overall wellbeing, so they can live a happier, healthier life. If you aren’t sure if it is right for you, give our office a call.