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What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

The Nystrom & Associates provider consulted for this article is Kathy SpiryMSW, LICSW, Outpatient Therapist. 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBTis a course of treatment with a trained professional that helps you learn skills to manage painful emotions and effectively navigate relationships. Furthermore, DBT utilizes four modules that focus on the goal of learning to live in the moment and effectively cope with stress. 

Related: How Interpersonal Effectiveness Improves Your Relationships

An Overview of DBT

Firstly, DBT is best for those who may need a step up from other therapy modelsor whose lives are severely impacted by their behaviors/emotions. DBT was originally developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan to treat borderline personality disorder, which can include highly suicidal behaviors, self-harm, and intense emotions. However, DBT has now been proven effective in treating many mental health issues, such as:

Additionally, DBT helps those with intense shame and/or unresolved trauma. 

Related: Guilt & Shame: What’s the Difference?

Kathy Spiry specializes in Dialectical Behavior Therapy at Nystrom & Associates and expands on what exactly DBT is and what it can do for clients. Essentially, DBT:    

  • Is a clinically proven treatment that teaches us how to build a life worth living through acceptance and change. 
  • Enhances learning of new skills to regulate emotions and validate our experiences. 
  • Validates and acknowledges our pain and life experiences while learning new skills to regulate emotions and urges. 
  • Encourages freedom to experience emotions and thoughts, and allows new learning to understand why they are necessary. 
  • Enhances the ability to walk alongside our emotions and urges to learn they are not catastrophic.  

In addition, Spiry touches on the inner work needed for DBT. It requires hard work and commitment to increasing awareness of why we continue to engage in behaviors that increase suffering.” In other words, DBT will help reduce problematic behaviors that negatively impact your quality of life if you commit to the treatment. All in all, DBT’s goal is to reduce unhealthy behavior and increase skillful behavior. 

Related: What Are Mental Health Days?

What We Offer 

Our Dialectical Behavior Therapy program consists of weekly individual therapy and a weekly skills training group. Meanwhile, you will have access to after-hours DBT phone coaching and will have a DBT consultation team of committed and trained DBT therapists.

The skills groups in DBT cover four primary areas which include mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance. Firstly, mindfulness will increase your ability to live in the present moment and help you experience life in a new way. Secondly, interpersonal effectiveness will support you to improve and maintain your relationships. Thirdly, you will learn how to live more effectively with your emotions, no matter how intense, by diving into emotion regulation skills. Lastly, distress tolerance skills will guide you through tough times without making them worse. 

Related: How Routines Benefit Your Mental Health

A Word From Nystrom & Associates 

In conclusion, if you think you or a loved one could benefit from DBT, don’t hesitate to reach out. Going through tough times on your own is difficult, but change is possible. There are trained professionals who are here to help. Moreover, Nystrom & Associates offers a certified DBT program for children/adolescents and adults. Call 1-844-NYSTROM or make an appointment online.  

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