DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY (DBT)
WHAT DBT IS
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a compassionate type of behavioral therapy intended to help people move toward a life that is more meaningful and worth living. It is an evidence-based treatment effective for mood disorders, personality disorders, addictive disorders, impulse control disorders, and some anxiety disorders. DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotion regulation with the concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindfulness. The skills taught by DBT strengthen a person’s ability to handle their emotions without losing control or engaging in destructive behavior.
WHAT DBT TREATS
Combining several therapeutic approaches, DBT was originally designed for treatment of patients with borderline personality disorder, who often engage in self harm or have chronic suicidal thoughts. Research has found DBT to be extremely effective in less severe areas, such as anxiety, mild depression, trauma, and relationship conflict – in essence: wherever there is a need to regulate emotions. Once learned, these skills can be applied in our everyday lives, including stress related to work, family relationships, and medical conditions.
Peachtree DBT, a division of PCH, offers a comprehensive DBT program for children, adolescents and adults that includes four elements: individual therapy (weekly), group skills training (weekly), phone coaching to reinforce use of skills (as needed), and consultation team (for therapists only). Diary cards are kept to maintain progress and obtain an overview of the patient’s week. Four sets of skills are taught in the curriculum: Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, Distress Tolerance, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. Patients participate in one full round of all the DBT skills (3 modules with weaving in of mindfulness skills in each module). However, we recommend completing the modules twice (one full year of treatment) for the best results.
We realize patients would like to learn skills while continuing to see their therapist in the community (outside of Peachtree DBT). At Peachtree DBT, we believe skills can benefit anyone, and we welcome clients with an outside therapist to our classes. As the diary cards and phone coaching will not be provided in these instances, this type of therapy is referred to as DBT-informed therapy.