Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a variation of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) used to address thought patterns and self-destructive behaviors. The primary objective of DBT is to create healthy ways to deal with stress, control emotions, and reduce conflict. Like CBT, DBT provides behavioral modification and activation to address negative cognitions leading to maladaptive behaviors and coping strategies, emphasizing managing emotions and creating healthy connections.

If you or a loved one are ready for substance abuse recovery or mental health services, call (424) 234-2027 to learn more about DBT treatment at Malibu Detox.

Who Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Helps

DBT is most effective in treating participants willing to change their cognitions and maladaptive behaviors through processing and modification. Although initially designed for treating borderline personality disorder, DBT has since been used to treat a variety of addictions and mental health conditions, including:

  • Substance Abuse Disorder
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder and Other Depressive Disorders
  • Mood and Personality Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating Disorders (such as Binge Eating Disorder or Bulimia Nervosa)
  • Suicidal Behaviors

Like cognitive behavioral treatment, dialectical behavior therapy is widely used in mental health and substance abuse treatment programs as well as psychiatric services. Depending on your unique situation, it can be employed as a component of a multi-therapeutic approach or on its own.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for addiction recovery

What Does DBT Include?

Once you have established a strong rapport with your therapist, they will introduce you to the four major tenets of DBT. While DBT can be utilized in individual therapy, group settings, and phone coaching, it is most often used through one-on-one psychotherapy and talk therapy. There are four main skills that individuals practice throughout dialectical behavior therapy:

  • Core Mindfulness – Mindfulness is a practice that teaches you to be present in the moment. Those who practice mindfulness learn to be aware of thoughts, sensations, emotions and feelings, and physical presence. Mindfulness allows for negative thoughts to be present but teaches the participant to allow them to pass without significant effects. DBT mindfulness strategies include journaling, guided meditation, core senses meditation, and nature mindfulness. Mindfulness skill means not dwelling on the past, which is over, or worrying about the future, which is a figment of the imagination.
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness – Interpersonal effectiveness utilizes social skills training and communication skills to strengthen healthy relationships and release toxic relationships. Building upon this skill also encourages a balance between attending to your needs and priorities with the needs of others. This intervention is an extremely effective treatment for those with passive communication styles and porous boundaries.
  • Distress Tolerance – Distress tolerance training (DIT) involves participants working through activities to “flush out” negative or painful emotions and tolerate feelings of stress, anxiousness, anger, and pain. This intervention focuses on developing life skills to handle distressing situations.
  • Emotional Regulation – Emotional regulation and development works to identify, process, and create healthy changes to negative emotions. Emotional regulation in DBT treatment has been used to treat chronic depression and teaches participants to act oppositely to negative emotions. This intervention is similar to the behavioral modification model of CBT. 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Settings

While DBT is utilized most frequently in individual talk therapy settings, it can also be utilized in: 

  • Group Therapy: Utilizing DBT as a group approach can foster connection and empathy within a group. Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous often use a dialectical behavior therapy model within their 12-step programs.
  • DBT Skills Training: DBT skills training is used to teach and train participants in the 4 core tenets, including mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance skills. Skills training can be taught exclusively or included in other group and therapeutic intervention practices. 

Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Develop Healthy Coping Techniques

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can teach you to accept and manage intense emotions and circumstances that arise. These coping strategies aim to empower you to take a healthy approach to control situations in your life. You can apply these strategies to any case, not just the ones suggested by DBT therapists.


Replace Unhealthy Behaviors With Positive Ones

A DBT therapist at Malibu Detox may help you acquire skills that can make positive changes in your life. With these resources, clients often find it easier to make sense of poor behaviors and replace them with healthier ones. A trained therapist will help you realize your strengths and use them to your advantage.


A Present Mindset

DBT treatment will inspire you to slow down and concentrate on what’s required to care for yourself now rather than on what may come in the future. DBT focuses on beyond just mental health problems and substance dependence but also can help you in many areas of your personal and professional life.

Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Better Communication and Relationships

Dialectical behavior therapy can assist you with all types of relationships, including those with family, friends, or colleagues. By practicing improved communication and interaction, you’ll understand how to cooperate more effectively. This has been proven personally and professionally valuable as it builds self-esteem and self-confidence.

Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

The skills learned through suitable DBT training can provide you with the means to make healthier decisions at points that might have triggered negative behaviors in the past. This lowers the risk of relapsing into drug abuse or other nonadaptive behaviors that might have negatively affected your life in the past.

Long-Term Addiction Recovery With Malibu Detox

Malibu Detox offers comprehensive treatment modalities such as dialectical behavioral therapy facilitated by licensed and knowledgeable therapists. Our treatment programs serve as a catalyst for meaningful transformations, ultimately helping individuals achieve sustainable, long-term health and recovery. 

If you are struggling with addiction and associated mental health conditions, we’re here to help. When you’re stuck in the cycle of addiction, you can experience hopelessness, isolation, and frustration. Reaching out for help and finding the right program is a major first step in your recovery journey. Whether you need detoxmedication-assisted treatmentresidential treatment, dual diagnosis treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, sober living, aftercare services, or treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders, we can help. All substance abuse and mental health programs at our treatment centers in Southern California include individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, support groups, mental health services, and more. 

Contact our Malibu, California, drug and alcohol rehab and detox center today at (424) 234-2027 to discuss your personalized addiction treatment plan. We accept most major and private health insurance plans and will work with you to navigate your coverage to minimize out-of-pocket expenses. Our admissions staff looks forward to speaking with you.

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