What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

If you are considering seeking treatment for an addiction or a mental health disorder, you may have come across the mention of dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT.  DBT is a strategy used by therapists that teaches the patient to create change in their lives while also learning to accept that which cannot be changed. By that description, you may be reminded of the Serenity Prayer, which asks for exactly that skill.  It is no wonder that DBT has proven very helpful in treating patients with addictions or dual diagnoses.

DBT was developed as a response to the great need for a successful strategy when dealing with severely depressed or suicidal patients.  When a depressed patient is prompted to create change in their lives, they may feel criticized or attacked by the therapist. Depression, after all, is not the fault of the individual, and therefore it is hard to understand how you can actively repair something that you don’t feel responsible for breaking.  Similarly, those of us with addictions have a hard time taking someone seriously when they tell us we have the power to change all the painful things in our lives. If that were true, we wouldn’t be here, right?

Another tactic that proved unsuccessful with patients was to emphasize acceptance by telling them that they needed to make peace with the way things were.  This is also difficult to process as an addict or depressed person because it insinuates that our problems really aren’t that bad, and we should just deal with them and move on.  Again, we wouldn’t be seeking help if that was possible. DBT is the convergence of these two strategies. It teaches patients to focus on the problems they can change, while also making peace with the aspects of their lives that are out of their control.  For example, this may mean approaching addiction in a way that strives for total and immediate abstinence, while also accepting that relapse is possible, and doesn’t necessarily lead to failure.

At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.