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A Look into Dialectical Behavior Therapy and its Benefits

Published on September 9th, 2016

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive behavioral treatment that is effective in treating a range of disorders from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder to eating disorders and more. The word dialectical means bringing opposites together, which in the case of DBT means that therapists are accepting clients as they are while also recognizing that they need to take action and make changes to succeed in their goals. It is a balancing act between acceptance and change that plays into what skills are taught as well.

At River Ridge under our mental health services programs in Burnsville & Minnetonka, we offer an introductory DBT skills group that includes a six-session curriculum that introduces clients to the core principles of this type of therapy. We introduce this therapy because it has been proven effective in helping individuals who experience chronic and acute emotional distress. River Ridge seeks out new and effective ways to help our clients and DBT has positive results in terms of its treatment methods.

Skills Training Group

Under our mental health services in Burnsville & Minnetonka we have the DBT skills training group program. The group focuses on teaching our clients behavioral skills for everyday life and through having a group leader teaching the skills and assigning homework, the clients are able to put these skills to the test in everyday situations. The group meets weekly for 2-2.5 hours and it takes 24 weeks to achieve the full skill set curriculum.

There are three other components of DBT that are used as a form of therapy as well. Another part is DBT Individual therapy which focuses on motivating the client to apply the skills they learned to specific challenges and events they face or have faced in their lives. The individual therapy also meets weekly and runs in conjunction with the skills training groups. Next there is DBT phone coaching which focuses on events in-the-moment and how to use the skills to cope with these situations at the time it is happening. Clients are able to call coaches between therapy sessions if they need advice or help. Lastly, DBT therapist consultation team is therapy for the therapists and DBT providers that meet weekly to help keep them motivated and focused so that they can provide treatment to the best of their abilities.

DBT Skills

There are four sets of behavioral skills taught in DBT under our mental health services in Burnsville & Minnetonka. The skills include mindfulness or practicing being fully aware and present in the moment, distress tolerance or how to tolerate pain in difficult situations, interpersonal effectiveness or how to communicate with others what you want and how to say no while maintaining respect for yourself and others and emotion regulation or how to change emotions that you want to change. There is evidence that DBT skills training in itself is a helpful intervention tool and River Ridge follows this evidence by just offering the skills training group to start.

At River Ridge we saw that research displays DBT is effective in decreasing suicidal behavior, non-suicidal self-injury, psychiatric hospitalization, treatment dropout, substance use, anger and depression. The treatment also helps improve social and global functioning in terms of how to handle unexpected situations in-the-moment in everyday life. Our mental health services in Burnsville & Minnetonka aim to instill these skills into our clients and help them begin their journey to meeting their goals.

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