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Dialectic behavior therapy (DBT)

Any people suffering from drug addiction may be suffering from a problem deeper than just a habit. It comes from the brain as a result of what the individual might have gone through at some stage of their lives. This is to say; they could be suffering from a cognitive problem.

Understanding the root of a problem is the perfect gateway to solving it. Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT) as proved to be the best way around many behavioral related issues.

What is DBT?

Different situations in life can cause someone to have problems relating to other people. They may lack the ability to manage painful emotions and in term have a lot of conflicts in their relationship with other people. DBT is a type of treatment that provides clients with new skills to manage these emotions.

There are four key areas on which DBT places its emphasis:

  • Mindfulness- Many people who have problem deny their situations. They want to leave normal by pretending that everything is ok. DBT helps an individual to accept and have the ability to present in their current situation.
  • Distress tolerance- People often try to suppress those emotions that make them feel inferior. They will want to pretend that these emotions are not there when in the real sense they are very much present in their lives. Through DBT, an individual is able to increase tolerance to these negative emotions rather than suppress or try to escape it.
  • Emotion regulation- Sometimes there are situations that cause pain in the life of a person. This could very intense that they alter their lives. DBT focuses on strategies that help these people manage and even change intense emotions. These emotions could be the cause of many problems in an individual’s life.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness- alcohol and drug addiction can cause a person to distance themselves from other people. Addicts usually are withdrawn and want to always stay alone. DBT involves using techniques that improve the communication skills of a person. These techniques help them strengthen their relationship with others. People need to maintain self-respect and be assertive while communicating with others. They need to feel important and that is what the therapy offers.

When is DBT applied?

There are several problems that the therapy can be used to treat. Initially, it was developed to treat the borderline disorder. Today, however, the therapy has proved to be quite applicable in some conditions. These include depression, bulimia, binge-eating, bipolar disorder among many other.

It is thought to be helpful for people looking to improve the ability to regulate their emotions. Those who are seeking to be mindful of their present and given a moment and those who wish to have effective communication and interactions with others try out DBT. This is to say that, the therapy is not only for people who have mental problems.

What are the components utilized in the therapy?

Comprehensiveness is the traditional approach to the therapy. Meaning the therapist seek clear understanding of the patient before they can offer successful treatment.  The following are the aspects utilized by DBT.

  • Individual therapy sessions- as the name suggest this is the kind of therapy in which the client attends once per week. The therapy addresses the major issues and approaches for successful treatment. The therapist works together with the clients to try and establish understanding and approach to acting in the world; all seeking success. Individual therapy demands that people involved stay throughout the entire treatment.
  • Group therapy- This kind of approach often combines psychoeducation discussions and lectures. The sessions are often structured for participants to meet once per week. In essence, people come together in groups to attend sessions. There are repeated courses offered including practice sessions that allow individuals to make up for missed sessions.
  • Assistance is made available- the focus is placed on ensuring client have access to help whenever they need it. Clients receive phone coach from people they can contact easily whenever and wherever. This approach is aimed at helping individuals work through issues that may be difficult for them and might have been missed.
  • Keeping therapists’ up-to-date- new things are always coming up and there are some situations that could be new to therapists. For this reason, they are expected to continue training. They are also expected to attend periodic training updates, group meetings and consultation meeting. Research is highly encouraged regarding DBT therapy and other mental health issues and treatments.

What approach is used in DBT?

There are three components applied in the use of DBT:

1- Orientation towards the individual

If you observe different types of therapies, they all have specific generalized principles. The problem is, these principles cannot always be applied in the same way by everyone. In DBT, the approach is to help the individual to apply their strengths in dealing with their weaknesses. In simple terms, what makes an individual weak is key to making them strong.

2- Thought and behavior

As seen from the beginning, DBT is a cognitive behavioral form therapy. Both the thought and actions of an individual are utilized to identify the problem and develop solutions. It is about understanding how and why a person has certain beliefs and how their actions are affected by them.

3- Therapeutic alliance

As a therapist continues to work with a client, they develop a bond which called therapeutic alliance. The bond establishes acknowledgment of their different roles during the session. The therapist respects the client as a person whereas the client recognizes the expertise of the therapist.


Numerous studies have been carried out, and they continue to appear regarding the utility of using DBT techniques. These researches have mostly revealed the approach to be very effective in treating borderline personality disorder, depression and suicidality, binge eating disorder, anxiety disorders, sexual abuse and substance abuse.

This means that if you are suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, this is the therapy you need to book. Because the approaches focus on why it can be the solution for very many people who have become addicted due to situations in their lives.

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