Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a broad-based cognitive-behaviour treatment focusing on improving emotion dysregulation. The term ‘dialectical’ means ‘working with opposites’ and focuses on the fundamental nature of ‘reality’ and persuasive ‘dialogue’ to effect positive change.
DBT uses seemingly opposing strategies of ‘acceptance’ and ‘change’. You approach coaching accepting who you are, but acknowledging the need for change in order for you to recover, move forward and reach your personal goals.
DBT coaching helps individuals learn skills to change behavioural, emotional, thinking, and interpersonal patterns associated with problems in living.
THE PROCESS EXPLAINED
Determining what patterns in your life are causing you distress and understanding the reasons behind your thought processes and behaviours. In this stage we analyse the individual parts of your behavioural system (i.e. one specific behaviour) as well as the interrelatedness of that part to other parts (i.e. other behaviours and the environmental context) with the larger wholes (e.g. cultural and global status). This allows us to understand where there are problem areas in your life (and why), and provide you with the skills needed to regulate and influence yourself and others to create a healthier environment and lifestyle.
Mindfulness Skills Training
Mindfulness skills focus on awareness and the quality of presence that a person brings to everyday life. It's a way of living awake, with eyes wide open by consciously focusing the mind in the present moment without judgment or attachment to the moment. This allows an individual to let go of attachment to negative thoughts, emotions, sensations, activities, events, or life situations. To stop being stuck in the past or worrying about the future and focusing on the present for what it is.Through intentional observation, participation in nonjudgmental reality with effectiveness, the aim is to 'allow' experiences rather than suppressing, avoiding, or trying to change them. From there you can move into the moment and function from a state of awareness knowing life is a process of constant change.In this step we will work through the three primary states of mind namely "reasonable mind" (intellectual, rational and logical), "emotional mind" (amplified by changing energies) and "wise mind" (intuitive, doing and being).
Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills Training
Interpersonal skills focus on response patterns with finding, developing and maintaining relationships. The core being strategies relating to obtaining objectives while maintaining harmony and self-respect. Interpersonal effectiveness includes asking for what you need, being able to say no and navigating problematic situations to resolve conflict. We also cover how to recognise and end destructive relationships.The objective is to improve an individual's problem-solving, social and assertiveness skills when assessing personal wishes and goals. You will learn how to analyse a situation and determine appropriate actions to achieve your desired outcome without damaging relationships. In this step you will learn how to describe and express feelings, assert and reinforce wishes, negotiate with confidence, show interest, validate feelings, be fair, stop apologising, stick to your values and stay truthful.
Emotion Regulation Skills Training
Difficulties in regulating painful emotions are central to the dysfunctional behaviours of many individuals which lead to self-control issues. This results in various difficulties depending on the individual causing emotion suppression (avoidance), overcontrol, overeating, substance abuse and interpersonal mayhem.Learning how to identify the secondary response that causes emotional distress (i.e. shame, anxiety, rage, etc.) allows individuals with high emotional sensitivity or those who face frequent emotional distress, to face situations and be able to regulate their emotions. Primary emotions are adaptive and appropriate to the context so the aim is to expose the individuals primary emotions in a nonjudgmental atmosphere enabling reduction of the secondary distress.In this step we focus on emotion exposure, awareness, avoidance, maladaptive behaviours, and cognitive flexibility allowing the individual to understand and name emotions; change unwanted emotions; reduce vulnerability to emotion mind; and manage extreme emotions.
Distress Tolerance Skills Training
Distress tolerance is the ability to perceive one's environment without putting demands on it to be different. Accepting, finding meaning for, and tolerating distress is important when it comes to having a strong mindset and living a healthy life. The simple fact is pain and distress is a part of life for everyone and cannot be entirely avoided or removed so failing to accept it only increases internal anguish and suffering.The focus is to accept in a non-evaluative fashion both oneself and the current situation. Keeping in mind that tolerance and/or acceptance of reality are not equivalent to 'approval' or reality. It is simply learning how to get through negative situations we have no control over without making things worse. In this step you will learn to tolerate and survive crises (negative changes caused by others and/or yourself) using various techniques including self-soothing, turning the mind, abstinence and eliminating triggers.
"We are truly free when we can be at peace and content with ourselves and our lives, no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in.”
Dr Marsha M. Linehan
DBT® was developed by Zen master Marsha M. Linehan, PhD, ABPP. The concepts and skills training discussed on this website and used for coaching have been taken from her research or paid training materials which relate to evidence based treatment. To learn more click HERE.