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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

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Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is similar to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The main difference between the two forms of psychotherapy is the focus on change and acceptance. What does this mean for teens and young adults in need of addiction treatment? More importantly, how can dialectical behavioral therapy help you or your loved one today?

Understanding Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

A young woman goes through dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)

Whereas CBT jumps right in and focuses strongly on affecting change, DBT eases you into the process. It allows you time to recognize the harm that substances are doing to you. In particular, for teens and young adults, this method is invaluable because it encourages personal growth. From there, it’s possible to build the motivation to quit.

It’s interesting to note that DBT doesn’t necessarily take place in a one-on-one setting. Although this is undoubtedly one treatment approach, dialectical behavioral therapy often occurs in a group setting. Because it’s such a versatile approach to healing, it creates the therapeutic backdrop for other methods rehab staff employ. Overall, DBT involves evaluating feelings, thoughts, and actions as a system of patterns.

Once you identify these patterns, it’s time to change them. In some cases, situations that lead to pattern development cannot change. Examples of this might include the loss of a loved one or a significantly traumatic event from the past. Rather than focusing on change, therapists and program participants work on building healthy coping skills.

Developing Coping Mechanisms

The anger, frustration, or sadness that occurs alongside certain life situations may lead to drug or alcohol abuse. However, DBT helps you learn how to effectively handle these emotions. The goal isn’t to make you feel better about something that makes you feel bad. Instead, the therapist wants to help you work through tough situations and deal with the consequential emotions.

Therefore, overall, DBT helps you take control of your emotions. In the past, they might have led to rash decisions you regret. Now, you can separate strong feelings from the need to make irrational decisions. As you progress, you realize that your ability to function well in interpersonal relationships changes for the better.

During individual counseling, you or a loved one discuss your motivation to change. You’ll also talk through challenges that involve cravings and temptation. For many, the combination of talk therapy and skills development is a positive experience. Ultimately, these work well when combining treatment with a family program.

Integrating DBT into Recovery

Of course, psychotherapy is only one component of a quality treatment plan. But it can’t stand alone. Further methods include:

    • Dual diagnosis treatment
    • Family therapy
    • Group therapy sessions
    • Evidence-based methods

Because DBT is part of a comprehensive addiction treatment model, teens and young adults feel confident while healing. Rather than compartmentalizing recovery, you see that all the modalities interconnect. For this reason, program participants quickly learn how to integrate learned changes into daily living.

Addiction doesn’t go away by itself. But you have the power to make the changes you need with the help of compassionate therapists. If you live in Idaho, Zelus Recovery in Meridian has the tools to help you or a loved one get well. Call 208.518.0797 now to schedule an intake interview.