It seems like you, or your child is always in crisis.
You, or your child, swings between high highs and low lows.
Sometimes, the coping strategies you’ve been taught make things worse in the long run.
You’re feeling hopeless and overwhelmed by emotions.
Regular therapy just isn’t working for you.
Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, is a perfect treatment for people who are:
- more sensitive to emotions
- more reactive to emotions
- have a slower return to baseline
If any of these things sound familiar for you or your loved one then DBT is probably the answer!
Who Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Work For?
DBT is an evidence-based treatment model originally created to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. Now, research shows DBT is effective for a wide range of other mental health concerns and symptoms that are rooted in emotional dysregulation.
DBT can help the following clients and mental health concerns:
- Adolescents and adults
- Individuals with substance use disorders
- Teens who refuse to go to or participate in school or have other chronic avoidance issues
- Young adults experiencing failure to launch
- Individuals experiencing symptom swapping (one thing goes away, another thing comes up)
- Behavioral concerns
- Self-harm behaviors and suicidal ideation
- Difficult-to-treat anxiety and depression
- Persistent relationship struggles
- Eating disorders
What does Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Mean?
DIALECTICAL means the ability to hold two opposites as true. In DBT we often talk about finding common ground between opposing concepts. Common opposites we discuss in DBT are:
- Emotions vs Logic
- Change Vs Acceptance
- Empathy vs Accountability
BEHAVIOR means changing what we DO. Similar to CBT*, we know that emotions, thoughts, and behaviors all impact each other. But the easiest thing to change is our behavior.
TRY THIS: Compare how long it takes to snap your fingers vs how long it takes to THINK about what you wore yesterday. Then, THINK about how long it takes you to snap vs how long it takes to actually FEEL the anger from being cut-off in traffic. The snap (behavior) happens is the quickest, right?!
So, when you use new behaviors to get through difficult thoughts or emotions, we can experience change. You can start to feel better quicker AND stop the maladaptive coping habits that get in the way of our goals!
* The difference between CBT and DBT is that DBT focuses more on relationships. Relationships trigger the most intense emotions. AND, relationships are also typically most impacted by displays of intense emotion!
The MCCC Way of Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Rockville, MD
Comprehensive DBT treatment combines skills training groups and individual therapy. At MCCC we do not currently offer DBT skills training groups. So, we are not considered a Comprehensive DBT Program. Actually, what our approach to DBT is much more flexible! First, we’ll start with an assessment and then move into treatment if you are a good fit for DBT at MCCC!
During the intake assessment, we talk about what is going on. We will look at things like how severe the safety risk is (ie: suicidal ideation, self-harm, excessive substance use, etc) and how motivated you or your child is to change. The higher the willingness to change and the lower the safety risks, the better fit you are for outpatient work MCCC! No matter what, we will coordinate with you and your family to recommend the most helpful course of treatment. If MCCC is a “maybe”, we may recommend a concurrent parent or family therapy. If outpatient therapy at MCCC is not enough support, we will recommend a higher level of care. This might be a comprehensive DBT program, an intensive outpatient program, a full-day treatment program, or a residential treatment program.
What Happens During DBT at MCCC
Once therapy begins, we will either recommend DBT Skills Training Group or weave DBT skills training into individual sessions. Depending on your needs, we may structure individual sessions to be half skills and half therapy. Or, we may even have two appointments per week, one for skills and one for therapy. Clients learn skills within the DBT core curriculum of five modules.
- Distress Tolerance
- Emotion Regulation
- Interpersonal Effectiveness
In DBT individual therapy, we track emotions and behaviors in order to identify patterns and correlations. We will identify the chain of events between emotions thoughts and actions. Then, we help you apply the new skills to the chain, so you can reduce the unwanted emotions or behaviors and help you meet your goals! We use the DBT Hierarchy of Targets to guide our thinking throughout each session and the overall process of therapy.
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