Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a skill-building, evidence-based treatment model that can help you learn to solve ordinary life problems, fully experience emotions, control your behaviors, and form stronger interpersonal relationships through education in DBT skills.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy was developed in the 1980s by Marsha Linehan, PhD, as a way to treat the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and help people stop engaging in self-harmful behaviors. DBT, a modification of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), provides treatment through education in the four DBT skills of mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation.
In addition to Borderline Personality Disorder, DBT skills have proven to be effective in treating a variety of other psychiatric disorders, including the following:
- Depression and mood disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Substance abuse
- Eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder
Treatment using Dialectical Behavior Therapy and DBT skills is standard for any type of psychiatric disorder or addiction. When you begin DBT treatment, you will be paired with a DBT therapist who is extensively trained in providing DBT skills groups, individual therapy, and phone coaching. Your DBT therapist will coordinate with everyone involved in your treatment, including your psychiatrist, and will help you keep track of your DBT treatment progress and goals.
There are three components to Dialectical Behavior Therapy treatment:
- Individual DBT therapy: DBT treatment involves weekly individual DBT sessions with a trained DBT therapist. These sessions usually last an hour.
- DBT skills groups: As part of DBT treatment, you will participate in weekly DBT skills groups that emphasize the four DBT skills.
- DBT phone coaching: In addition to in-person therapy, you will also be able to contact your DBT therapist for DBT phone coaching sessions. Phone coaching is especially helpful if you are tempted to engage in self-harmful behaviors.
DBT Stages and Targets
Dialectical Behavior Therapy treatment is organized into DBT stages and targets that allow you to first address issues that are life-threatening or preventing you from effective treatment before learning new coping techniques based on DBT skills. DBT treatment is organized into the following four stages:
- Stage 1: Stage 1 of DBT therapy helps you become more in control of your behaviors. At this stage, you will learn to reduce and eliminate life-threatening behaviors and behaviors that interfere with treatment, decrease behaviors that affect your quality of life, and learn DBT skills to help you improve your relationships and have better emotional regulation. You will also address any co-occurring disorders you may have, such as depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, or eating disorders.
- Stage 2: Stage 2 of DBT therapy focuses on helping you learn to fully express your emotions so that you are no longer “suffering in silence.” You will work with your DBT therapist to address any trauma or symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and find ways to experience your emotions without shutting down.
- Stage 3: Stage 3 of DBT therapy addresses how you solve ordinary life problems, such as relationship issues or career concerns. During this stage, you will learn techniques for solving these types of problems so that you can lead a more functional life.
- Stage 4: During Stage 4 of DBT therapy, you will work with your DBT therapist to find a way to feel a sense of connection to other people and to the world around you.
DBT Treatment in Los Angeles
The DBT Center of Los Angeles is the only treatment center on the Westside of LA that offers a full continuum of comprehensive DBT treatment programs, including residential, day treatment, and outpatient DBT programs, to help you achieve a long-term recovery.
If you or a loved one are struggling with an issue and need Dialectical Behavior Therapy, please call us at (866) 665-8465 to ask questions and receive a free assessment. Or submit the form below.