Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
DBT is an effective, evidence-based treatment to help people who:
- Get bored easily and do risky things
- Live a chaotic painful live
- Feel suicidal a lot of the time
- Hurt themselves deliberately to change the way that they feel
- Feel moody and irritable and have rapid changes in their moods
- Feel desolate and lonely when alone
- Feel anxious much of the time
- Don’t cope when people leave them
- Feel out of control of their behaviour
- Find it difficult to trust others and difficult to maintain relationships
- Feel depressed a lot
- Feel uncomfortable in a close relationship, or that people are trying to control them
- Feel painful and empty
Do any of these sound familiar to you?
Sometimes people have suffered painful experiences in childhood or in their adult life that they can’t stop thinking about. They find it hard to sleep, because of nightmares or bad dreams or they feel angry or sad much of the time. They may abuse substances or harm themselves in order to cope. In relationships, they often feel misunderstood, hurt, angry, or afraid that others don’t or won’t like them. One common feature to all these problems is instability, in your sense of identity, your relationships and your feelings.
Marsha Linehan, the founder of DBT, believes that one of the main reasons people do desperate things like some of the behaviours listed above, is that they have learned effective but harmful strategies for coping with strong emotions. When people feel sharp physical pain, they try to get away from the thing that is causing it. The same thing happens with emotional pain, except that our instinct to block or move away from the pain causes more problems in the longer term.
In DBT treatment, we focus on these painful feelings and work to help you tolerate them better or even change them, rather than avoid them. While no single treatment can “fix” all of these problems, DBT helps many individuals find a reason to go on living and to try to have a better quality of life.
What does it Involve?
The treatment involves the following components that work together to help you
Individual DBT sessions
Ideally once a week prior to and alongside the skills group. You will be assigned an individual therapist for the duration of the programme. During these sessions you will learn to apply the skills that you learnt in the skills group to your very individual and unique issues.
A skills group
that is held once a week for 2 hours, in which you will learn skills for coping with very painful experiences, to improve your relationships with others, to help you focus better on the things that are important to you, and to manage your emotional ups and downs more effectively.
What are the Goals of Treatment?
The Group is divided into four modules:
Mindfulness skills are central to DBT. Mindfulness training focuses on learning to go within to find oneself and on learning to observe oneself. The goal of this module is to develop a lifestyle of participating with awareness.
This module focuses on relationships and on learning to deal with conflict situations, to get what one wants and needs, to say no to unwanted requests and demands. It focuses specifically on doing this in a manner that maintains self-respect and others’ liking and/or respect.
This module focuses on enhancing control of emotions, even though complete emotional control cannot be achieved. To a certain extent, we are who we are, and emotions are a part of us, but we can get more control and can perhaps learn to modulate some emotions to make us calmer.
This module focuses on learning to tolerate distress, on accepting and finding meaning for one’s distress. The skills taught are about developing the ability to accept, in a non-judgmental way, both oneself and one’s current situation.
If you are interested in DBT individual or group sessions, you would need to attend a general initial consultation session first at normal cost. Following this, we would ask you to arrange a DBT assessment consultation with one of our qualified DBT practitioners. Once both assessments have been carried out, you would be referred to either individual or DBT Skills Group sessions allowing you to get the best out of this treatment at your individual circumstances.