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Why Psychologists Use Dialectical Behavioral Therapy - What is it and Who Benefits?

posted 2 Oct 2010, 06:41 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 2 Oct 2010, 06:43 ]

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) was developed in the
early 1990's to assist people who have difficulty regulating
their emotions. It is beneficial to people with a wide range
of difficulties, including suicidal tendencies or Borderline
Personality Disorder and problems with anger, depression and
hopelessness. The common thread between these conditions is
that sufferers share an inability to regulate their
emotions, or tend to react inappropriately to external

People requiring DBT can demonstrate extreme emotional
vulnerability, rapid mood changes, or will experience
feelings that are so intense they cannot manage them. These
sufferers are often prone to impulsive behaviors, which can
include suicide attempts or self-harming.  Often, these
people also have difficulty maintaining stable relationships
with friends, co-workers and even family.

In the past, many people who underwent other types of
therapy stopped treatment when they felt that the focus on
needing to change invalidated their feelings. Thus, a new
form of psychological counseling emerged to provide a method
of treatment that balanced change and tolerance by combining
the teaching of adaptive skills (which help to regulate
emotions) with an acceptance of behaviors, including those
deemed to be self-destructive.

Treatment through DBT is an extensive process. Patients are
asked to make a one year commitment in order to create
lasting change and a better quality of life. There are four
stages that must be moved through in a specific order.
First, psychologists begin by addressing life-threatening
behaviors; the first goal in the healing process is to keep
the patient alive. Adaptive skills are taught to create
strategies for managing unwanted behaviors. Once a client
regains control, they can begin the second stage - greater
emotional control. They may still suffer from intense
emotion, but by the second period the volatility is under
the surface. The goal during this period is to help them
learn to experience the full range of emotions without
becoming overwhelmed.

Once intense feelings are under control, clients move into
the third and fourth steps in the process. In the third
stage, they learn that they are capable of having an
ordinary life, understanding this includes both joy and
sorrow, and that emotional swings are a normal and healthy
part of the human condition. Finally, patients are
encouraged to reach a sense of spiritual fulfillment by
connecting with something larger than themselves. By the end
of treatment, patients are able to experience a rich
emotional life while maintaining control over their actions.

About the Author:

Stephen Daniels is an acclaimed researcher.
If you are in need of a psychologist in New York City, who
has experience mental health issues with dialectical
behavioral therapy, he recommends .