What’s Unique About Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy to help people with mood disorders, traumatic brain injury, eating disorders, and substance abuse.
DBT was originally intended to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), but it has been adapted to treat other mental health conditions. It can help people who have difficulty with emotional regulation or are exhibiting self-destructive behaviors (eating disorders and substance use disorders).
This type of therapy is also sometimes used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is believed to help approach increase emotional and cognitive regulation by learning about triggers that lead to reactive states and mindfulness.
The term “dialectical” comes from the idea that bringing together two opposites in therapy — acceptance and change — brings better results than either one alone.
A unique aspect of DBT is its focus on acceptance of a patient’s experience as a way for therapists to reassure them — and balance the work needed to change negative behaviors.
Standard comprehensive DBT has four parts:
- Individual therapy
- Group skills training
- Phone coaching, if needed for crises between sessions
- Consultation group for health care providers to stay motivated and discuss patient care
Patients agree to do homework to practice new skills. This includes filling out daily “diary cards” to track more than 40 emotions, urges, behaviors, and skills, such as lying, self-injury, or self-respect.
A practitioner applying Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is relying on the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment and this is most often done through meditation.
Most of our thoughts originate from the subconscious mind while the conscious mind is the seat of rational reasoning and thinking. Interestingly, the subconscious mind does not differentiate between dreaming and reality while the conscious mind will.
One way to access the subconscious mind is through hypnotherapy, whereby a therapist would guide the subject into the theta brainwave state, allowing for a reprogramming of the subconscious thoughts in the brain. In this manner, the unconscious mind is where we have no real conscious awareness or control.
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