Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was developed in the late 1980s to help treat borderline personality disorder. Since DBT’s development, it’s also been used for treating other mental health disorders. DBT treatment is a cognitive-behavioral approach that emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment. The theory behind this treatment is that some people are prone to react in an intense, out-of-the-ordinary manner toward certain emotional situations. These situations are often found in romantic, family and friend relationships. DBT suggests that some people’s arousal levels in certain situations can increase more quickly than the average person’s, attain a higher level of emotional stimulation and take a significant amount of time to return to normal arousal levels.
People who are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder sometimes experience extreme swings in emotions, see the world in black and white and always jump from one crisis to another. It can be difficult for people to understand these reactions, so they don’t have methods for coping with these sudden, intense surges of emotion.
Characteristics of DBT
Support-oriented: This helps a person identify their strengths and build on them, creating better self-esteem and a more positive outlook on life.
Cognitive-based: DBT helps identify thoughts, beliefs and assumptions that make life harder. This means transforming thoughts like “I have to be perfect at everything” or “If I get angry, I’m a terrible person” to “I don’t need to be perfect for people to care about me” and “Everyone gets upset, it’s normal”.
Collaborative: DBT requires constant attention to relationships between clients and staff. In DBT, people are encouraged to work out problems in their relationships with the therapist. DBT allows patients to role-play new ways of interacting and practicing calming skills.
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At the CERTS Group, we can help your daughter cope with the effects of ADHD, depression, eating disorders, anxiety and other issues through residential treatment programs. Our programs are structured around DBT treatment, while also combining traditional talk therapy with experiential therapies (equine assisted psychotherapy, art therapy, adventure therapy, music therapy, etc.) to achieve a resilient, more influential change. Contact us to learn more.