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What is Dialectical behavior therapy?

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What is Dialectical behavior therapy?

When you are in the beginning of the process of addiction treatment, the number of different practices and methods that are used to treat addiction can be puzzling to figure out. What therapy is the best for drug addiction treatment? How are they different? Today we will take a closer look at DBT.

What is DBT? DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy and is one type of cognitive behaviour therapy. DBT program includes identifying and changing negative thinking patterns, pushing for positive behavioral changes. DBT gives skills for managing painful emotions and controlling suicidal thoughts. 

What is DBT used for? While DBT training can help you regardless of whether you struggling with mental health issues, it is usually used to support the ones who experience:

  • substance use disorders
  • self-harm or suicidal ideation
  • borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • eating disorders

If you see the signs that your mental health symptoms negatively impact  your health, relationships, or quality of life, DBT therapy is a good choice for you. 

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy benefits

In the DBT, a therapist and a patient work together to resolve the contradiction between self-acceptance and change for bringing positive changes in the individual’s behaviour. Validation is a part of this DBT treatment that helps a person to become more open for cooperation and less likely to stress about the idea of change.

So in the process of dialectic behavioral therapy, the therapist validates that a patient’s behaviour “makes sense” within the context of an individual’s personal experience without necessarily accepting that these actions are the best way to solve problems.

In the DBT program each therapeutic setting has its own goals and structure. What are the six main points of dialectical behavior therapy? Here they are:

Acceptance and change.

At this stage people learn strategies to accept and tolerate their life circumstances, themselves and their emotions. They also develop new skills which help them to make positive changes in their actions and thoughts.


People learn how to analyze their destructive behavior patterns and problems, and replace them with more effective and healthy ones.


Patients focus on changing beliefs and thoughts that are not helpful and effective.


At this point it is all about learning how to work and communicate  effectively with your therapist.

Skill sets

People gather new skills to enhance their capabilities.


Patients are encouraged to recognize their positive attributes and strengths, and develop and use them. 

As a part of addiction treatment programs, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is beneficial because it gives acceptance and change, it is also realistic about abstinence, motivating engagement in and treatment completion. And that’s why DBT is an excellent choice for dual diagnosis treatment programs.

With the beginning of the substance abuse treatment, DBT encouraged complete abstinence with the help of DBT distress tolerance skills, DBT emotion regulation skills, DBT stop skills, DBT chain analysis, DBT mindfulness, DBT coping skills, DBT diary cards, etc. For a patient, who is new to the recovery process, this sometimes can be a very intimidating prospect. That’s why a therapist breaks down long-term sobriety into easier obtained small goals. Certified DBT therapist helps a person to continue to succeed, gaining stability and move closer to drug-free life.

In the process of dialectical behavior therapy training, it targets different behaviours for improving patient’s chance of recovery:

  • Alleviating or reducing withdrawal symptoms
  • Removing environmental and social triggers for drug use
  • Reducing temptations for relapse and cravings
  • Reducing cravings and temptations for relapse
  • Overcoming thoughts and behaviour that leads to drug use
  • Reinforcing healthy behaviour, environments and relationships that support sobriety

Techniques and components of Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

Is dialectical behavior therapy effective? Everyone decides for him/herself, but DBT is highly structured and gives knowledge and skills for developing what is referred to as a “clear mind.” DBT is consisted of four modules:

Core mindfulness

DBT mindfulness skills teach people on how to become more aware of the present moment. A person learns to focus on one thing at a time, without any judgment of himself/herself and others.

Distress tolerance

DBT distress tolerance skills help people to accept things you do not have control over. It teaches you how to feel intense emotions like anger without self-harming, substance abuse, or impulsive reaction. It includes self soothing and distraction techniques.

Interpersonal effectiveness

In this stage, people gather skills for creating healthy relationships while looking after themselves. Interpersonal effectiveness includes listening well, working through conflict, and clearly forming your questions.

Emotion regulation

DBT emotion regulation skills help a patient to label emotions without judging them. At this module people learn how different emotions shape their behaviour and how different obstacles prevent them from managing these emotions.

An addiction often occurs as a way to cope with strong emotions and bad feelings or situations. DBT can help the ones with suffering from substance abuse and develop effective ways to regulate emotions, manage stress and be mindful about themselves.

Hathaway Recovery is an industry leader in Addiction & Dual Diagnosis Treatment. Doctor operated facility that offers 24/7 care, monitoring & support. Hathaway Recovery is staffed with a team of professionals who are highly trained and constantly strive to offer the most innovative and effective care and therapy.

Contact us today for more information on dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and addiction treatment.

Hathaway Recovery Luxury Treatment Center

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Hathaway Recovery Drug & Alcohol Treatment Center

Web: www.hathawayrecovery.com

Email: management@hathawayrecovery.com

Phone: (909) 971-3333

Fax: (909) 498-9898

1042 East Belmont Abbey Lane, Claremont, CA 91711

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  • Hathaway Recovery is a very solid, very friendly place. My boyfriend decided to go here and has spent a significant amount of time at the recovery house. They are very good at bringing clients to meetings and on fun outings occasionally! Hathaway is committed to their clients’ recovery and their sobriety and to helping them in any way possible. They go above and beyond for the clients and I definitely would recommend considering Hathaway for your sobriety/recovery.

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