DBT treatment is a type of psychotherapy — or talk therapy — that utilizes a cognitive-behavioral approach. DBT emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment.
The theory behind the approach is that some people are prone to react in a more intense and out-of-the-ordinary manner toward certain emotional situations, primarily those found in romantic, family and friend relationships. DBT theory suggests that some people’s arousal levels in such situations can increase far more quickly than the average person’s, attain a higher level of emotional stimulation, and take a significant amount of time to return to baseline.
How DBT can Help
- Support-oriented:It helps a person identify their strengths and builds on them so they can feel better about themselves and their life.
- Cognitive-based:DBT helps identify thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that make life harder: “I have to be perfect at everything.” “If I get angry, I’m a terrible person”. DBT helps people to learn different ways of thinking: “I don’t need to be perfect at things for people to care about me”, “Everyone gets angry, it’s a normal emotion.
- Collaborative: In DBT people are encouraged to work out problems in their relationships with their therapist, complete homework assignments, role-play new ways of interacting with others, and to learn and practice skills such as self-soothing or mindfulness when upset.