Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Have you ever been accused of being too sensitive? Maybe you have gotten so upset that you do not know how to manage your emotions? Maybe you end up cutting yourself, binging, or engaging in other behaviors that result in you feeling out of control and ashamed. If so, then Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) may be for you.
DBT is a skill-based therapy model that focuses on teaching clients four different skill modules. They are mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance. This model was developed by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., after years of research and study on what causes emotion dysregulation and how to help clients learn to manage their own emotional state.
Linehan found that a certain segment of the population is more emotionally sensitive than others—of no fault of your own. Rather, due to your genetic makeup and an invalidating environment, you may experience wide fluctuations in your emotional experience that you do not know how to cope with or express. For those who feel deeply, you may have trouble recognizing what you are feeling other than anger, fear or sadness. You may even have been told that you are wrong to feel what you are experiencing. How confusing is that, especially when you feel it so deeply?
Instead of others understanding where you are coming from, you end up more frustrated and dysregulated. Then this may lead to you engaging in behaviors that hurt you further. No wonder. You simply don’t know how else to cope with such heightened emotions. This may be exacerbated by harshly judging yourself and your behaviors.
DBT skills will focus on teaching you to be more mindful of your emotions and how to validate your own experience. Your emotions actually make sense in light of your situation and thoughts about it. They are trying to alert you to something. However, you may not need to act but instead, slow down and pay attention to your experience. Your DBT therapist will teach you how to use these skills so you can improve your daily life. It also may be recommended that you join a DBT skills group in conjunction with your DBT therapy.
If so, don’t be discouraged. DBT skills group is a place where others in similar situations as your own are learning the same skills. This is not a process group where you share your feelings with others but a skills group where you receive weekly training and support. Your individual DBT therapist is there to coach you through the application and integration of these skills in your daily life. The purpose of pairing group and individual therapy is to help you acquire your skills and allow therapists to collaborate in your treatment. By doing so, we see clients make the changes they want to have a life worth living.
DBT is a therapy model that RDU Counseling for Change uses to help clients learn skills to reduce emotion dysregulation and distress. If you are interested in DBT, call (phone number).
For additional information on DBT, click here.