Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Invented by psychologist, Martha Linehan, Dialectical Behavioral therapy is a form of treatment that was developed to help in altering the patterns of certain behaviors that are consequential like suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and self harm. This approach is useful in assisting people to enhance their cognitive and emotional regulation. It has been identified as the most effective treatment that can be offered to people who are suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD). In fact, Dr. Linehan also revealed recently that the development of the therapy was inspired by her own condition; she had been struggling with BPD for some time.
In Dialectical Behavioral therapy, there are different forms of treatment that can be offered to patients. These psychological therapies can range from individual psychotherapy, group skills training to phone consultations. The therapy focuses on the validation concept whereby the patient and doctor are working on the acceptance of uncomfortable feelings, behaviors and thoughts instead of fighting them.
Provided that the therapist and patient have accepted the disturbing thought, belief or behavior, it is easier to initiate change, thus enabling the realization of the goals of gradual transformation. The aim of the therapist in DBT is to establish a balance between acceptance and change then integrating them for success. Besides, the therapy also focuses on developing skills that can assist the patient to cope with the conditions. These include certain behavioral techniques that can be used in combating the disabling symptoms of mental conditions.
Dialectical behavioral therapy emphasizes on the development of a practice of mindfulness and other techniques for relaxation. Mindfulness can be achieved through practices like yoga that can assist people to become conscious of their feelings and thoughts by observing the sensations of their bodies. With this, individuals develop the ability to accept thoughts and feelings of distress without criticizing themselves or conforming to destructive thoughts. Some of the most common mindful techniques include progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing.
In certain occasions, patients that are undergoing DBT are given homework in between the sessions. Mostly diary cards are given out to them to give an account of their experiences so far since the beginning of the therapy. This involves, noting down the change of symptoms and general condition of the patient.
Over the years, Dialectical Behavioral therapy has been the most researched for borderline personality disorder. In fact, it has been shown to play a crucial role in reducing the suicidal outcomes in people who are suffering from BPD. However, there are also other psychotherapies that can be used.
At the time of discovery of DBT, it was mainly for the treatment of individuals with chronic suicidal cases; however, it has today gone through an evolution to include even individuals with various kinds of disorders. The treatment has today been adopted for people with behavioral disorders that involve emotional dysregulation like drug users, people with severe cases of depression among others.
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