Dialectical Behavior Therapy

patients in garden

Our Dialectical Behavior Therapy program in Nashville (DBT) is a cognitive-behavioral treatment where clients learn new skills that help them observe their emotions in stressful moments, instead of reacting to them. The skills focus on the areas of mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. This approach works towards helping people increase their emotional and cognitive regulation by learning about the triggers that lead to reactive states and helping to assess which coping skills to apply in the sequence of events, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to help avoid undesired reactions. Dialectical Behavior Therapy assumes that people are doing their best but lack the skills needed to succeed, or are influenced by positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement that interferes with their ability to function appropriately.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is now used in a variety of psychological treatments including treatment for depression, substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries, binge-eating disorder, and mood disorders. DBT emphasizes individual psychotherapy and group skills training classes to help people learn and use new skills and strategies to develop a life that they experience as worth living.

The Components Of DBT

The goal of Dialectical Behavior Therapy is to help clients build a life that they experience as worth living. In DBT, the client and the therapist work together to set goals that are meaningful to the client. Often this means they work on ways to decrease harmful behaviors and replace them with effective, life-enhancing behaviors. Engaging in this therapy client and therapist work together to find techniques that would most benefit the client. This collaborative aspect can make dialectical behavioral therapy very attractive to certain clients who prefer a model of therapy centered on cooperation. However, DBT is still an intense practice requiring constant attention to be paid to relationships within the therapy. Clients may be asked to complete homework assignments, role-play new ways of responding to situations and interacting, and actively practice techniques to control one’s emotions when upset.

Regulating emotions is perhaps the core focus of DBT. But clients also learn how to tolerate distress and not allow themselves to be overwhelmed, mindfulness so they are more present in the world around them, and improved methods of interpersonal interaction. All of these not only improve an individual’s mental health but gives those clients in recovery the tools they need to build lasting sobriety.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Has Five Components That Work Together That Make Up A Standard DBT Program:

  1. Enhance Capabilities with DBT Skills Training
  2. Enhance Motivation with Individual Therapy
  3. Ensure Generalization with Coaching
  4. Structure the Environment with Case Management
  5. Support Therapists with the DBT Consultation Team

Dialectical Behavior Therapy assumes that effective treatment, including group skills training, must pay equal attention to the behavior and experience of providers working with clients as it does to clients’ behavior and experience. Our trained clinicians practice these skills themselves in order to deliver the best treatment possible.

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