Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) at Starlite Recovery Center

Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, is one of the many treatment modalities that Starlite Recovery Center employs to help individuals whose lives have been disrupted by substance abuse, chemical dependency, and certain co-occurring disorders. When incorporated into comprehensive, personalized treatment at our center in Center Point, Texas, DBT can help adults make the lifestyle changes that will support long-term recovery from addiction.

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Discover the general principles and objectives of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, is a form of psychotherapy that was developed in the 1980s by Dr. Marsha Linehan. The term “dialectical” refers to achieving a state of balance or synthesis when dealing with opposing forces. DBT helps participants incorporate acceptance and an understanding of the necessity and value of change into their daily lives.

DBT focuses on improving participants’ capabilities in the following four areas:

  • Mindfulness
  • Distress tolerance
  • Emotion regulation
  • Interpersonal effectiveness

Developing your skills in each of these areas can have a beneficial impact on your overall quality of life and significantly improve your ability to achieve and maintain long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol or other drugs. DBT skills can also help you manage symptoms of co-occurring disorders that may have led to or been exacerbated by your struggles with substance abuse and chemical dependency.

Who Can Benefit from DBT?

Learn who can benefit from dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

Dr. Linehan originally developed dialectical behavior therapy as part of an effort to help individuals who were struggling with borderline personality disorder or who were chronically suicidal.

Through the years, considerable research has demonstrated that DBT is an effective form of treatment for people who have been dealing with a broad scope of additional challenges, including the following:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • Anger management problems
  • Impulsivity and related behavioral disturbances
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal ideation

Dialectical behavior therapy is an appropriate method of treatment for individuals of virtually all ages. When provided by an experienced professional, DBT can be extremely beneficial to children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. DBT has also proved to be effective with heterosexual participants, members of the LGBTQIA community, and individuals from a wide range of nationalities and ethnic backgrounds.

According to The Linehan Institute, the effectiveness of dialectical behavior therapy has been documented by more than 30 randomized controlled trials by 20 independent research organizations from nine nations.

What Happens During DBT Sessions?

Discover what occurs during a typical DBT session

Dialectical behavior therapy sessions can occur in three forms:

  • Individual sessions
  • Group sessions
  • Phone consultations

Individual sessions are face-to-face, one-on-one conversations between you and a therapist. Individual DBT sessions are often conducted on a weekly basis. They provide a supportive forum in which to address challenges and develop healthier response strategies. Individual sessions also encourage the development of a healthy and productive collaborative relationship between you and your therapist.

Groups are often referred to as skills training sessions. Groups help participants develop capabilities and strategies related to the four core areas of DBT (mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness). Groups typically involve “homework,” during which you can practice your newly developed skills in the context of your day-to-day life. You can then process your experiences and receive feedback during your next group.

Many DBT therapists also offer phone consultations or phone coaching sessions so that you have access to immediate support during challenging moments.

How Does DBT Help with Addiction Treatment & Recovery?

Learn how dialectical behavior therapy can help during and after treatment for addiction

The skills that you develop through dialectical behavior therapy can be extremely valuable as you work to establish and maintain a strong foothold in recovery from addiction.

The four focus areas of DBT (mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness) are all relevant to maintaining your sobriety and avoiding relapse.

Improving your abilities in the areas of mindfulness and distress tolerance will help you deal with challenges from a perspective of acceptance and without rushing to judge or assign blame. When you are able to accept yourself, others, and difficult situations as they are, you become more capable of responding in a healthier and more productive manner, and less likely to engage in self-defeating behaviors such as substance abuse.

As you develop more effective emotion regulation skills, you will be able to identify, address, and change negative emotions without feeling compelled to use alcohol or other drugs to hide from these feelings or numb yourself to their impact. Problematic emotional responses to difficult situations or events are common triggers that often push people into relapse. Thus, emotion regulation can be an essential recovery skill.

Interpersonal effectiveness means that you will be able to advocate on your own behalf, ask for help when you need it, say no to requests or demands that may threaten your physical or emotional well-being, and deal with conflicts in a healthy and productive manner. These skills clearly have beneficial applications in various areas of your life, including your efforts to maintain your recovery.

To learn more about how dialectical behavior therapy can help you establish and maintain your sobriety, or for answers to any additional questions you may have about addiction treatment at Starlite Recovery Center, please contact us at your earliest convenience. We’re available 24/7 to provide you with the information you need so that you can make the best treatment-related decisions for yourself or on behalf of a loved one.

Compared to the other options, Starlite Recovery Center was the only one that was able to help me make a breakthrough. It was obvious that Starlite's staff were experts in their field, and everyone was great!

– David G.