Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the late 1980s as a modified form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. She was interested in developing a treatment for individuals with borderline personality disorder and for chronically suicidal individuals. Over time, it was discovered that this therapy was beneficial not only for those individuals but also for individuals with a variety of other mental health issues including substance abuse.

California dialectical behavioral therapyAnalyzing Behavior Patterns Through Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Many people, including those who struggle with addiction, struggle with overwhelming emotions. Dialectical Behavior Therapy is designed to help people increase their emotional regulation by learning about what triggers their emotions and assisting them in learning tools and strategies to cope with unmanageable emotions.

Strategies Used in Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Addiction

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a step-by-step approach to changing behavior. The client is taught new skills to cope with unstable emotions so that they do not turn to substances instead.  There are four skills used in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Those are:

  • Mindfulness: assists individuals in experiencing more fully the present moment while focusing on less painful experiences. Mindfulness also teaches tools to overcome habitual, negative judgments about ourselves and others.
  • Distress Tolerance: helps individuals cope with painful events by building up their resiliency
  • Emotional regulation: will help individuals recognize more clearly how they feel and then observe emotions without becoming overwhelmed by them
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills: gives individuals new tools to express needs, set limits, and negotiate solutions to problems

Goals of Dialectical Behavior Therapy in California

People struggling with addiction frequently have problems with unstable emotions and possess poor coping strategies. Often times those with substance use issues also engage in dangerous or risky behaviors. Dialectical behavior therapy strives to assist individuals in managing overwhelming emotions. Research has shown that Dialectical Behavior Therapy can strengthen a person’s ability to handle distress without losing control.

Dual Diagnosis and Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Many people who are trying to overcome an addiction to substances also have a co-occurring mental health diagnosis. Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an evidence-based therapy that has been found to be effective with substance use disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, binge eating, mood disorders, as well as borderline personality disorder. It has also been shown to assist the chronically suicidal.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Helps in Recovery by:

  • Teaching how to correct destructive behaviors and make positive choices
  • Decreasing stress levels and regulating emotions
  • Improving self-soothing skills
  • Addressing problematic thought patterns and changing those patterns into constructive ones

Support For Addiction Recovery Now

New Bridge Foundation® provides programs and therapies crucial to achieving lasting recovery. From therapies that include DBT to programs that are specialized for different populations, we have the tools to make dreams of recovery a reality. Our programs include the following:

To learn more about dialectical behavior therapy in California and how it can help individuals recover from addiction, call New Bridge Foundation® today at 866.772.8491. Help is available to those who reach out for it.