So exactly what is DBT? DBT is dialectical behavioral therapy, which is an intensive program that helps clients to attain and maintain a life worth living. Creating a life worth living is done through thinking, believing, and behaving effectively (Linehan 1993). Doing what is effective is determined by asking the question “what choice can I make to get what I want and still maintain my self-respect and goes with my internal values?” DBT is divided into subdivisions that assist individuals in moving forward in a more solution-focused effective manner. The Meehl Foundation residential treatment program offers an intensive DBT treatment program with intensively trained DBT staff to teach DBT skills within an environment that allows the client the ability to practice the skills in real time and in real situations with support and motivation. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT treatment) is used to treat individuals with mood disorders (bipolar disorder), personality disorders (borderline personality disorder) (BPD), and substance abuse/addiction.
Core mindfulness is the first step in the DBT process because the person must first be able to become mindful of the outer world, the inner world and the impact that their own choices and others peoples choices have on both. Mindfulness asks the individual react from wise mind to become aware of thoughts, feelings, believing, so that they can change the behavior to a more effective behavior.
Emotional regulation looks to identify the highly negative emotions and how an individual can minimize emotional dysregulation (Linehan 1993). Emotional dysregulation can be linked to some form of irrational thought that the individual is probably unaware of and is causing them significant emotional distress. By identifying the irrational belief the individual can target the core issue, while simultaneously working to reduce negative emotions and build positive emotions with DBT skills like acting opposite of the current emotion.
Distress tolerance can help the individual to gain significant relief from distressing situations, feelings, and or thinking (Linehan 1993). Distress arises when individuals are experiencing distorted thinking, irrational beliefs, which signals that the person is non-accepting of what is currently going on in the here and now. Through practicing radical acceptance the individual can reduce distress. Additional skills that can ease the distressing situation are self-soothing. Self-soothing is done via the five senses: viewing a beautiful picture (sight), self-massage (touch), eating sweet fruit (taste), lighting a softs scented candle (smell), and listening to opposite emotion music/ soothing (hearing).
Interpersonal effectiveness asserts to help individuals to build healthy relationships with self and others (significant others, friends, and strangers) (Linehane 1993). Through building healthy interactions individuals gain self-respect and maintain more stable and rewarding relationships and daily interactions. Skills commonly practiced when developing interpersonal effectiveness is validation for self and other individuals. Validation accepts the way the person is feeling and or identifies the positive qualities of the person, which builds acceptance of self and encourages positive self-esteem and self-worth.
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT treatment) and the practicing of the DBT skills can aid many individuals attaining and maintaining a life worth living through doing what is effective (Linehan 1993). The dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT treatment) at the Meehl Foundation residential program focuses on core mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and walking the middle (thinking and acting effectively).