Understanding Dialectical Behavior Therapy and How it Can Help You

Do you feel like your emotions get the best of you, leading you to overreact to relatively minor inconveniences? Or perhaps, you do not or can not handle stress well and engage in self-destructive activities in order to distract yourself or blow off steam. Maybe your relationships with friends, family, and partners could be better. 

If any of these issues sound familiar, you may benefit from dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Here at Connect Wellness in Beverly Hills, California, Dr. Rod Amiri and our clinical team incorporate DBT into comprehensive treatment plans in order to help you develop the skills you need to manage your thoughts and emotions and lead a fulfilling life.  

What is DBT?

DBT is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. It’s based on dialectics, which is a philosophy of bringing together opposites to effect positive changes in your life. At its foundation, DBT takes two opposing ideas — self-acceptance and change — and combines them to help you develop the skills you need to cope with your thoughts and feelings. 

DBT focuses on four specific areas that can help you lead a fulfilling life: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. Mindfulness helps you stay grounded in the moment and in “real-time”instead of worrying about the future or fretting about the past. It helps you learn to accept things the way they are in order to move along more easily in life.

With DBT, you also work on increasing your distress tolerance. For example, if you find that relatively minor inconveniences or perceived slights set you off, you can develop your ability to cope with distress. 

Emotional regulation entails your practicing self-soothing techniques, learning to recognize your feelings, determining if the are appropriate for the situation, and consequently adjusting your feelings and behavioral responses. 

Something else you work to improve through DBT is your interpersonal effectiveness. This could include learning to say no when you don’t want to do something, or learning how to confront problems without being aggressive or worried about the other person’s opinion of you.

DBT is a regimented type of therapy. You have a set number of sessions and specific goals that you pursue in your appointments. In addition to your individual therapy sessions, you may also attend group therapy or have “homework” to practice between your appointments. 

How DBT can help you

Ultimately, DBT helps stabilize emotional issues. While DBT was initially developed to treat borderline personality disorder, we also use it to help people with:

You learn self-acceptance and practice being kinder to yourself. Negative self-talk plagues us all. With practice however, you can learn to shut it off and focus on the positive. At the same time, you learn to strive for positive change. For example, you can hold two ideas at the same time, such as:

With the four elements of DBT, you can make positive changes in your personal life. For example, instead of not saying anything when your partner hurts your feelings or instead of acting out in a passive-aggressive manner, you can voice your opinions and demonstrate your interpersonal effectiveness. 

These practices can also stop you from engaging in dangerous or self-destructive behaviors when you experience negative thoughts or feelings associated with eating disorders, anxiety, or mood disorders. 

If you’re curious about DBT, call us or send us a message here on our website.  You can also use our online booking feature to set up your appointment. We offer highly personalized treatment plans to help you develop the skills you need to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. 

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