Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, is a very popular approach to addressing mental health disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. It was originally created by Marsha Linehan in the 1980s as an alternative to traditional psychotherapy treatments. If you’re suffering from one of these conditions and would like to consider DBT as a treatment option, here are some ways that DBT can help improve your quality of life, no matter what stage of life you’re at or how severe your disorder might be.
1) Emotional Regulation
When facing a negative emotion or situation, ask yourself these questions: What am I thinking? What is my body feeling? and What am I wanting (and how can I get it)? The answers to those questions will help you stop focusing on what you don’t want and start looking for positive solutions. Your ability to regulate your emotions and manage your triggers will help alleviate any anxious feelings as well as help reduce impulsive behavior.
2) Interpersonal Effectiveness
Interpersonal Effectiveness is an essential skill in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) that helps you take control of your relationships, feelings, and emotions. With practice, you will be able to improve interpersonal effectiveness by using skills such as appropriate communication, self-awareness and validation. By learning how to effectively communicate your needs and emotions, how to appropriately express them and change your behavior when needed – you can learn to set better boundaries so people don’t run over you while still maintaining relationships. It takes time and practice, but once mastered Interpersonal Effectiveness can help you feel more confident in all of your relationships at home and work.
3) Cognitive Modification
In emotion-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), as in mindfulness, mental health practitioners seek to understand and influence a person’s relationship to their thoughts. This is accomplished through a series of methods that have been shown to be effective in treating patients with a wide range of mental health disorders. The goal is not to make patients feel better, but rather to help them accept their negative emotions without judging themselves or others, all while keeping an attitude of positive expectancy toward improvement. In short, CBT therapists seek modifications in how their clients think about themselves and how they think about their problems.
4) Distress Tolerance
Emotion regulation is a cornerstone of dialectical behavior therapy. In fact, emotion regulation is essentially what dialectical behavior therapy was designed to teach. Dialectical behavior therapy teaches patients several ways of regulating distress and addressing emotions. For example, many people have a hard time staying present in their own experience—they can’t just be where they are without being distracted by either past or future events. This might look like If I just had gotten that promotion last year instead of that jerk, I wouldn’t feel so bad about not getting it now. In dialectical behavior therapy, patients learn to focus on their experience as it is happening and accept those feelings as they are—not as they wish them to be or think they should be.