Have you ever been told that you are “sensitive”? Do you sometimes seemingly “overreact” to small things? Are you engaging in behaviours that you know aren’t healthy but cannot seem to distance yourself from? If so DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) may be a good fit for you.
For any given mental health concern there are a variety of therapeutic models that can be employed. From exploration of early childhood psychodynamic approaches to behavioural modification every practitioner seems to take a slightly different approach.
You may be asking yourself, why DBT? Can this therapy actually help me? And what is?
DBT was initially developed to treat individuals with the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. According to the DSM-5 this disorder is characterized by patterns of instability in interpersonal relationships, self image and affects and is marked by impulsivity. Previously felt by many mental health professionals to be “untreatable” DBT changed this perception.
As DBT has been further explored it has been found not only to aid in the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder but a number of other conditions as well including anxiety, depression, substance misuse, PTSD and suicidal ideation.
DBT takes it name from the terms Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. The term Dialectic speaks to the idea of comparing and contrasting two seemingly different viewpoints. DBT is unique in that it combines both eastern and western philosophies around mental health and wellness. DBT incorporates mindfulness and acceptance strategies encouraging clients to accept themselves without judgment or harsh self criticism. At the same time, DBT acknowledges that often we need to change in order to be happier and move away from behaviours that no longer serve us. Combined together acceptance and change have proven to be very powerful therapeutic techniques.
At Burns Clinical we run a “DBT group” that works with individuals in a supportive group setting to further explore and implement DBT skills. This group may be different from clients experience with other forms of group therapy in that clients are provided with psychoeducation and homework as well as an opportunity to process their use of skills in the group setting. DBT works with client to develop mindfulness, increased capacity for emotional regulation, ability to tolerate uncomfortable emotions and the ability to effectively communicate with others in their lives.
No doubt DBT can be challenging. It offers clients the opportunity to explore new ways of being both with themselves and others. DBT encourages clients to try out new skill sets that initially may seem unfamiliar and uncomfortable. However it also incorporates the belief that everyone is capable of change and that with support and guidance can live meaningful, fulfilled lives.
“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you don’t belong.” – Mandy Hale