Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health offers Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). It focuses on a client’s role in interpersonal relationships, how they regulate their emotions, and how well they tolerate distress. Broadly, DBT allows clients to learn about themselves on an emotional level. It uses grounding techniques like mindfulness to help the client become self-aware without placing judgment on themselves, which is because DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioural therapy. The overall goal of cognitive behavioural therapy is to use a neutral, grounding approach. Clients benefitting from DBT will learn how to disrupt negative thought patterns, find coping mechanisms to stressors, and respond more neutrally or positively to these.

During this treatment, patients are taught two different strategies. The first strategy is called acceptance. This is a way to create awareness and an acknowledgement of their behaviours and experiences, without attaching any deeper meaning to them. The second strategy looks toward the future. It seeks out ways clients can manage their emotions and move forward with their lives by making positive changes.

Assumptions

There are several underlying assumptions that create a baseline of DBT practice. The first assumption is that change is inevitable and constant because all things are connected. Another assumption is that everyone has the opportunity to make positive changes, connecting negative past experiences and behaviours to more beneficial and healthy futures. It invokes a personal journey where clients are reminded of the power they hold over changes in their lives, so they must feel ready to commit to this.

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy is proven to help people with a variety of suicidal behaviours and mental health issues. This includes people suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, depression, and substance abuse.

DBT focuses on mindfulness and emotional regulation. This means it aims to acknowledge actions, feelings and thoughts in the present tense as they occur, without pushing judgment onto these. It encourages responding healthily, proportionately or neutrally to things that may upset or distress us.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Groups

DBT therapy groups are sessions that are overseen by a skilled therapist. They look similar to a regular class, where tasks are provided for the clients to practice on their own time between sessions. Clients become aware of the responses and actions they have taken that led to issues or negative outcomes. These outcomes also include sensations, thoughts and emotions that are inappropriate or dysfunctional. Sessions also include identifying triggers and other factors.

The point is not to label behaviours or define oneself through negativity, but rather to become aware of the situations where negative outcomes have arisen. These are often very subtle. The secondary purpose of these sessions is to introduce practical and effective skills that clients can use when they feel distressed. The lessons learned here are designed to replace negative or unhealthy behaviour.

Individualized Therapy

This part of the treatment focuses on motivating and helping clients apply the skills they learned to specific events and challenges in their lives. Therapists and clients can also discuss personal goals. These sessions can be held on a weekly basis. The goal is to provide the skills that help people to learn how to identify the things that they can change and accept the things that cannot.

If you would like to talk to one of the professionals at Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health about whether Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is right for you or your loved one, please email us at info@simcoerehab.ca or call us at 1-833-304-8181.

Interested in learning about other treatment methods? Continue to our Treatment Methods page.

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