What is DBT and is it the right approach for you?
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT is a cognitive behavioral approach focusing on those who struggle with managing their intense emotional experience in everyday situations. Specifically, it is for those who lack coping mechanisms, have extreme emotional responses to stresses, and who struggle to maintain relationships because of emotional instability. The goal of DBT is “to help individuals change behavioral, emotional, thinking and interpersonal patterns associated with problems in living.” This is accomplished by focusing on different areas of distress and identifying coping tools to manage emotional deregulation.
Is it right for me?
This approach may seem straightforward and easy to implement. Those that benefit the most from this approach to therapy suffer when they are unable to center their emotions or tolerance levels to a baseline that is reasonable for them or those around them. If this is the case, it is important to find a therapist that has been extensively trained and supervised in DBT. The Treatment And Research Advancements for Borderline Personality Disorder offers the following tips to finding the right DBT Therapist at this link: https://www.tara4bpd.org/new-page-71/
Below is a description of the DBT skills training group component.
DBT skills training group is focused on enhancing clients’ capabilities by teaching them behavioral skills to improve being more effective in life. The group is run like a class where the group leader teaches the skills and assigns homework for clients to practice using the skills in their everyday lives. Groups meet on a weekly basis for approximately 1.5 hours and it takes 24 weeks to get through the full skills curriculum at which point an assessment is made to decide what the best next course of action would be. The CPT Code for participation in the 90 minute DBT skills training sessions is 90853 and the cost is $150 per session.
DBT includes four sets of behavioral skills.
- Mindfulness: the practice of being fully aware and present in this one moment to help reduce suffering and increase happiness
- Distress Tolerance: how to tolerate pain in difficult situations, not change it, and to learn to accept painful experiences
- Interpersonal Effectiveness: how to ask for what you want and say no while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others
- Emotion Regulation: how to understand and change emotions that you want to change
There is increasing evidence that DBT skills training alone is a promising intervention for a wide variety of both clinical and nonclinical populations and across settings.