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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy is a type of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy that was originally developed in the 1980s. It was developed to better treat people who experience borderline personality disorder and now used for many different types of mental health disorders. Dialectical behavioral therapy is based on the theory that some individuals are prone to acting intensely to certain emotional situations which may ultimately lead to mental disorders.

Characteristics of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

There are many different aspects of dialectical behavioral therapy that will help someone with mental health disorders like borderline personality disorder and similar disorders. Support – The support aspect of dialectical behavioral therapy will help someone identify what strengths they have to help them feel more confident. Cognitive – The cognitive-based characteristic of dialectical behavioral therapy will help the person to identify what their assumptions, beliefs and thoughts are that tend to make their life more difficult and use that knowledge for improving their life and mental state. Collaborative – Finally, there is the collaborative characteristic of dialectical behavioral therapy. This includes encouraging someone to work out their relationship and other problems with a licensed therapist rather than trying to focus on these aspects themselves. It can help them avoid being upset with the therapist helping them to learn to soothe themselves.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy consists of two major sessions; individual psychotherapy sessions and group therapy sessions. The individual psychotherapy sessions usually happen once a week and will work with the person on a one-by-one basis to help improve various behaviors and cognitive abilities that are affecting their lives in a negative way. They focus on decreasing post-traumatic stress and other causes of their mental health disorder. The weekly group therapy sessions last about 2 hours for each session with a group of people experiencing the same type of mental health disorder. They are trained by a licensed therapist working in dialectical behavioral therapy and help with stress management, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and accepting reality in a positive way.

Modules of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

There are four modules of dialectical behavior therapy including mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation. Mindfulness helps someone to be nonjudgmental, mindful and observant of others and what they skills they possess and is an important part of dialectical behavior therapy. With interpersonal effectiveness, the interpersonal response patterns are taught such as strategies for saying no, dealing with interpersonal conflict, and asking for what they need from themselves or others. Distress tolerance skills will help with other modules including mindfulness skills, such as learning to bear pain with different types of skills and learn about tolerating stressful and painful situations in life. Finally there is emotional regulation which involves labeling emotions, identifying obstacles, reducing their vulnerability, increasing positive emotions, and taking opposite action.
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