Who Can Benefit From DBT Therapy?
According to DialecticalBehaviorTherapy.com, “DBT Therapy is often used to help people with depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorders, addictions, eating disorders, and PTSD.” Additionally, by learning coping skills while in a safe and validating space, DBT counseling can be helpful for anyone dealing with codependency or chronic stress. DBT therapy can be effectively utilized in conjunction with other modalities, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Brainspotting.
What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?
Dialectical Behavior Group Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that focuses on changing behavioral patterns that can lead to mental health challenges and emotional distress. “Its main goals are to teach people how to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others.”
DBT was founded by Dr. Marsha Linehan, an American psychologist, in the 1970s. Originally developed for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder and self-harm, DBT was the first psychotherapy to formally incorporate mindfulness. In addition to mindfulness, Linehan blended a variation of traditional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with elements of acceptance to create DBT, making it a multi-faceted treatment.
Many of the skills DBT therapy offers can provide immediate relief from stress.
Although some skills that target crisis-like symptoms can take more time to master, developing these skills provides clients with a valuable foundation they can take with them throughout their lives.
How Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Work?
The approach DBT takes differs from traditional talk therapy. Rather than talking about your problems with a counselor, DBT offers highly structured skills-building exercises for managing your emotions and behaviors. It is well-suited for anyone looking for hands-on tools to help them with their mental health.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy is comprised of four core skill sets: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance. In DBT, mindfulness is defined as living purposefully in the present moment without judgment. By practicing mindfulness, you can learn how to better direct your attention with intention rather than being at the mercy of where your mind wanders. When you are mindful, you are focused on the present moment instead of ruminating on the past or worrying about the future.
The emphasis of interpersonal effectiveness is to develop skills that will make you more successful in relationships, such as assertiveness, boundary-setting, and learning how to have your needs met. Emotion regulation exercises will help you know what steps to take when you’re experiencing an intense emotion that feels out of your control. And building up your distress tolerance is accomplished by accepting yourself and your current situation through techniques like distraction and self-soothing.
“There is a wealth of evidence supporting the effectiveness of DBT.” According to a study conducted at Brown University that compared DBT therapy with traditional CBT for adolescents suffering from self-harm, after six months, 46 percent of participants who used DBT had not self-harmed, compared to only 28 percent who had used CBT. After 12 months, the same study concluded that DBT had a statistically significant advantage in eliminating recurring self-harm. (Knopf, 2018).
At Find Your Shine, we offer both one-on-one DBT skill-building strategies to individuals as well as DBT skills group therapy for adults and adolescents. If you are currently a client of ours, your therapist may recommend DBT group therapy, either with us or with another practitioner in the area. If, for example, you are dealing with the effects of unprocessed trauma and need to develop your distress tolerance before undertaking this work, DBT can be an especially helpful intervention to get the process started.
Because our DBT Skills for adults and teens are structured, skill-building groups, not processing groups, participants will not have to share traumatic or triggering information. DBT group therapy with us will run for four or five-week sessions, teaching the core skillsets in person and assigning homework throughout the week. Weekly attendance is recommended to ensure that you learn the skills and receive the full benefits of DBT therapy.
Why We Love DBT Therapy
We believe that the tenets of DBT therapy are fundamental skills that should be taught in every high school. DBT can help you develop emotional intelligence by learning how to handle the stressors life throws at you. Another reason we love DBT is that it is solution-focused and oriented to the future. Dialectic Behavioral Therapy goes beyond talking about trauma and offers evidence-based tools—along with opportunities to practice with weekly homework—to help you manage your life better.
In 2014, Find Your Shine Therapy’s founder, Jaime Castillo, began running DBT groups for trauma survivors who needed tangible tools to manage their symptoms. While many of these clients were attending individual therapy concurrently with group DBT therapy, others were completing DBT to prepare for engaging in trauma therapy.
Jaime was struck by how effective these group sessions were in helping people who were motivated to get better but simply hadn’t yet been taught the skills they needed to heal. Based on this experience, she decided to incorporate group sessions into her practice as well as offer DBT therapy individually.
DBT Group Therapy For Adults And Adolescents
Find Your Shine runs both adult and teen DBT skills groups weekly. Our Adult DBT Skills Group has three modules that run for five-week intervals with mindfulness between each module. Our Teen DBT Skills Group has four modules that run for four-week intervals with mindfulness between each module. New members are welcome to join the skills group at the beginning of each new session.*
Adult DBT Skills Group – Wednesdays 6:30-8:00 PM weekly; facilitated by Madison Lynch
Teen DBT Skills Group – Thursdays 5:00-6:30 PM weekly; facilitated by Vanessa Lishner
* Please note that our weekly DBT Skills Groups are skills training only—we are not a full protocol DBT center.