Dialectical behavior therapy, also known as DBT, is an effective treatment method for those looking to overcome addiction and begin a successful recovery. The purpose of DBT is to provide clients with skills that will assist them in managing their emotions effectively and reducing conflict in their relationships. Although this form of therapy was initially intended to treat personality disorders, it has been discovered that DBT is equally effective as a substance abuse treatment, especially for individuals with comorbid conditions.
There are four main areas of dialectical behavior therapy: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. Riviera Recovery believes in the power of each one of these areas as essential because to provide key skills to those in recovery.
Drawing from ancient eastern traditions, the mindfulness skills that clients gain through DBT practice encourages them to focus on the present and avoid getting drawn too far into the future or the past at any given time. Having a focus on the present provides clients with the ability to take things one day at a time, or one step after another, rather than always looking at the long road ahead.
Not only does mindfulness avoid a future mindset, but it also helps to relieve some of the tension clients may feel from thinking about the past as well. Although it can be easy to look at the past and find mistakes, drawing up old wounds from five years or five minutes ago and ruminating over them rarely is going to be helpful and can actually be damaging to the recovery process.
Learning to focus the mind, and bring it back to the present moment brings with it daily opportunities to practice concentration, and become connected with one’s inner world
DBT has been shown to increase clients’ ability to manage their stress and reduce anxiety because they gain valuable distress tolerance skills. These skills combine several techniques that relax the mind and body, creating a sense of comfort. With the use of distress tolerance techniques, clients can also make wiser, more informed decisions because they are not frantic or stressed when making crucial decisions.
Having a focus on the current moment helps clients to reduce the likelihood of relapse because they are less likely to return to unhealthy coping methods because they are more fully aware of the choices presented to them in any given moment. In this way, being able to accept their current reality, choosing a healthy way to deal with the issue, and move forward with recovery is key to preventing relapse.
Emotion regulation is an aspect of DBT that urges participants to incorporate new ways of dealing with intense feelings such as anger, stress, and depression. The idea presented here is that once these emotions are more effectively managed, clients can begin to understand their feelings and make positive decisions, rather than acting on impulse.
Within this aspect of DBT treatment, time is taken to ensure that clients have a deeper understanding of their emotions and know how to process through and manage them effectively. When clients are educated about how to deal with their feelings positively, they can prevent having negative feelings that urge them to stray from their path to a successful recovery.
Interpersonal effectiveness is a significant component of DBT because it provides skills in navigating and understanding relationships. Clients that participate in DBT gain a deep understanding of the relationships in their life, what they need from them, and what they are looking to accomplish in the relationship.
Frequently, stressors in relationships can be challenging to overcome because they cause unwanted tension, conflict, or anger in relationships that are unhealthy. Interpersonal effectiveness skills provide clients with tools that increase their emotional intelligence and increase the probability of having positive, healthy relationships with less conflict.
Although the road to recovery is not an easy one, DBT has been shown to improve outcomes and reduce relapse. Rivera Recovery specializes in providing care to clients and assisting them with their recovery in healthy ways. If you or a loved one are interested in learning more about DBT, and how it can be used to help you, please contact us!