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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Q. What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

A. Dialectical Behavior Therapy is highly effective in substance use disorder treatment as it strongly recognizes the link between addictions and trauma. DBT is essentially a combination of behavioral therapy and mindfulness practice. The word dialectic refers to the synthesis of two opposites. The fundamental principle of DBT, therefore, is to create a dynamic that promotes two opposed goals for clients: i.e. change and acceptance. Individuals learn how to hold both the need and desire for change, with the ability to accept 'as is' with nonjudgement. While seemingly complicated initially, this dialectical approach can serve as a profound guide in the recovery process.

Q. Who Can Benefit From DBT?

A. Anyone who experiences challenges with distressing thoughts or emotions, challenging relationships, or stress can benefit from DBT. These skills can help individuals learn to practice acceptance and tolerance in the face of distressing experiences and overall suffering. This is achieved by practicing mindfulness and building a life worth living as a broader therapeutic goal, rather than simply focusing on the reduction of problematic behaviors or symptom management.

Q. Is DBT Right For Me?

A. DBT skills training can be helpful for anyone seeking support with the following:

  • Diminishing urges, cravings, and temptations to use substances

  • Alleviating physical discomfort associated with abstinence and/or withdrawal

  • Becoming mindful of one’s destructive or potentially self-harmful behaviors

  • Learning to more efffectively engage in personal relationships

  • Lowering stress reactions and reactivity

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