The “D” In DBT
The “D” means “dialectical.” Dialectics is the way we balance and bring together acceptance and change. It’s the way in which we can look at two ideas that seem entirely contradictory or opposite as being related and at the same time, both having important truths to contribute. Figuring out what’s correct in another person’s position and what truth their position holds that the others are missing give allowance to a whole truth, or what we call a synthesis. The synthesis transcends the limitations of either idea and brings them together, it allows us the freedom to move forward together. This is what is done in therapy. This is particularly important with the type of client for whom dialectical behavior therapy is most helpful. These are clients who have powerful emotions, powerful opinions and take extreme positions. So it becomes very critical in working with these clients to be able to validate their position and bring things into synthesis. Embracing a dialectical world view is learning to notice when someone else is stuck in a position and learning to identify the truth in another person’s perspective.
The “B” In DBT
The “B” stands for “behavioral.” The behavior approach means assisting clients situations and target behaviors that are relevant to the client’s goals in order to figure out how to solve the problems in their life. We look carefully at what happens before and what happens after a target behavior in order to figure out how to change it. This supports treatment planning and provides a huge relief when clients present numerous problem behaviors. This approach provides a specific framework to understand how the problems and the behaviors work in the client’s life and how we can replace unskillful actions with more skillful ones. It gives a path to follow to get the change a client needs to see. Behavior therapy is closely aligned with a scientific method and focus on compassion and precision. This means sticking as closely as possible to what is observable rather than live in the world of theory. DBT therapists pay exquisite attention to the details of a persons experience and track these systemically in order to understand the causes and conditions of their problems. Behavior therapists try to scientifically move forward in a very active manner to help solve the client’s problems. This means that DBT therapists are continually adapting their approach as new information emerges. This process occurs throughout the duration of treatment.
Individual DBT Therapy
In DBT, individual DBT therapy focuses on identifying a client’s specific behavioral patterns that are leading to ineffective or self-destructive behaviors. Missing skills are identified, and individual DBT therapists teach and coach new DBT skills to increase their client’s movement towards positive behavioral change. Individual dbt therapy also focuses on maintaining a client’s motivation to stay committed to therapy and focused on behavioral change even when it becomes terrifying and difficult to live one’s life in a more skillful manner.
DBT Skills Training
Within the DBT treatment framework, is the belief that many behavioral problems are a result of clients having skills deficits. The 5 Main Skills taught in Dialectical Behavior Therapy include:
- Core Mindfulness Skills
- Distress Tolerance Skills
- Emotion Regulation Skills
- Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills
- Middle Path Skills
Mindfulness Skills are considered core skills in individual DBT therapy because they help develop their ability to control their attention which is a skill that is needed before they can learn to regulate their emotions. In this DBT skills module, the primary goal is to help clients learn to participate fully in their lives while being non-judgmental, staying one-mindful, and focusing on being effective in moving towards their long-term life goals.
Distress Tolerance Skills
Distress Tolerance Skills are taught so that clients can learn to cope with periods of intense emotions and stress without behaving in a way that would make the situation or problems worse. These DBT skills provide clients a more effective way of managing crisis situations by means of distraction, improving the moment, and self-soothing. Distress tolerance skills for chronic problems and stressors help the individuals in DBT therapy to learn to accept reality by practicing the skills of radical acceptance, willingness and turning the mind.
Emotion Regulation Skills
Emotional Regulation Skills help individuals in DBT therapy appreciate the purpose of emotions when encountering different problems and situations. Clients learn to accurately identify and label emotions, change emotional responses to situations, reduce vulnerability to negative emotions, and learn to manage extreme emotions. For most clients, the development of emotion regulation DBT skills includes the process of learning an emotion vocabulary that helps them recognize and communicate their emotional needs to others.
Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills
Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills are taught so that clients learn to balance the ability to be assertive (ask for what they want and to say no), keep and improve relationships, and increase self-respect. The goal is to decrease interpersonal conflict, improve active interpersonal problem-solving, and build positive social support in individual DBT therapy
Middle Path Skills
Middle Path Skills were added to the DBT skills to help families and teens manage the relevant issues within their relationship. These skills help clients learn to balance acceptance and change so they are able to see that there is more than one way to view a situation or solve a problem. A primary goal of this module is for clients to work on changing painful or difficult thoughts, feelings, or situations while also accepting themselves, others and their current problems.
In Vivo Skills Coaching
At DBT Psychological Services of Long Island, in vivo skills coaching helps our clients learn to use skills introduced in individual DBT therapy in all important areas of their lives. Skills coaching is available between sessions in the form of calls or texts from your treating clinician for in-the-moment support. The goal of this DBT skills coaching technique is to focus on solving a current crisis situation using new skills and to divert the need for higher levels of care.
The DBT Consultation Team
An important aspect of the DBT approach is recognizing that therapists need support so they can best help and treat their clients. The weekly consultation team meeting prioritizes Long Island therapists maintaining adherence to DBT treatment principles and practices, conceptualizing client cases in a compassionate and skillful manner, and problem-solving as a team.
Multi-Family DBT Skills Training
Because research clearly indicates that family involvement in DBT helps clients succeed, a weekly family group is offered. Family members are provided with psycho-education about diagnoses, evidence-based treatment practices, and the DBT framework. They are taught the same DBT skills modules so that they can be familiar with the new behavioral coping skills being learned and practiced by their loved ones.
For Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Contact Us Today
Multiple people ask, “What is DBT?,” and we are happy to answer all of your inquiries. An additional approach and treatment to what some Long Island therapists may use, our psychological services on Long Island consists of but is not limited to DBT for BPD, anxiety treatment, substance abuse therapy, family therapy, behavioral therapy, individual DBT, teen therapy and counseling for young adults, If you or someone you know is interested in DBT programs on Long Island you’ve come to the right place. If you’re seeking therapy in Port Jefferson Station and think DBT could be right for you or for a loved one, contact us today or give us a call at (631) 828-2082.