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How Do I Know DBT Therapy is Right for Me?

Is DBT Right for Me?

DBT, or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, is a treatment that was originally designed for people with Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD. DBT works by combining Buddhist practices of distress tolerance, mindfulness, and acceptance, with cognitive-behavioral practices of emotional regulation and reality testing. A DBT patient’s therapist is seen as his or her ally, not adversary, and the therapist’s role is to validate the patient’s experience and feelings while showing them more positive alternatives.

How does DBT work?

DBT is typically split up into two components: the individual and the group. During the individual component, the patient works closely with his or her therapist to address personal issues and set treatment goals. This often includes recording a diary to keep track of daily issues and to track the progress of the treatment. The group, on the other hand, typically meets once a week for a few hours at a time. The group learns to practice four specific skills, or modules: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance.

What are the modules?

Mindfulness has to do with living in the moment without judging it. To be mindful means to accept one’s own emotions and experience them fully, but with perspective. Mindfulness is the foundation for the other modules. Distress tolerance means accepting, and tolerating, pain; more than that, it means finding meaning for distress, and learning to understand its impact. Emotion Regulation helps patients to recognize and regulate their emotions. Interpersonal effectiveness teaches patients to achieve their goals in specific situations without damaging either their self-respect or their relationships with other people.

What kind of symptoms does DBT combat?

While originally intended for people suffering from BPD, DBT has now been shown to be effective in treating a wider range of issues, including spectrum mood disorders and eating disorders. Sexual abuse survivors, and those dependent on drugs or alcohol, may also benefit.

How much does DBT cost?

DBT costs vary but tend not to be high. Some insurance companies do cover the costs of DBT. Those interested may also find a variety of DBT workbooks, online or in bookstores, to begin a more private and individual therapy.

Who should I contact?

Anyone interested in DBT is advised to contact his or her personal doctor for further information. Your doctor can recommend specific treatment centers in your area, as well as provide you with further information regarding costs and insurance policies.

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