Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy aimed at helping clients to tolerate uncomfortable emotions. It is focused on creating an alliance between the client and the therapist and a therapeutic environment of validation and support. This is a model we at The Chicago Stress Relief Center frequently use to help individuals who have difficulty with strong emotions, painful memories, or conflicted relationships. DBT is based on the understanding that attempting to resist or battle strong emotions frequently adds to the distress they cause us. DBT teaches a “dialectic” wherein the client learns to both honor their current strengths in coping with difficult situation and seek to improve their coping strategies. Unlike other forms of therapy, DBT sessions are structured around the learning and practice of new skills, with the goal of helping clients to apply these in their lives both during treatment, and once treatment has ended. There are four main “modules” of skill training involved in DBT. A typical DBT session may involve:
- Mindfulness skills training, wherein the client practices focusing attention on the present moment, noticing both what is going on within and outside of themselves, and becoming and staying centered.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness skills training, wherein the client practices dealing with conflict with others, getting their needs met effectively, and saying no to unwanted requests and demands in a way that maintains self- and other respect
- Emotion Regulation skills training, wherein the client practices understanding and naming emotions, reducing the intensity of unwanted emotions, and managing difficult emotions
- Distress Tolerance skills training, wherein the client practices tolerating and surviving crisis situations without making things worse, and accepting reality as it is, rather than what we might hope it to be
DBT has demonstrated effectiveness in treating:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Eating disorders
- Substance abuse
- Conflict in relationships
At The Chicago Stress Relief Center, we tailor treatment and the types of exercises we use in session to fit you and your specific concerns. If you are interested in exploring DBT therapy, you should look for a therapist with specialized training and experiences in DBT strategies. We have clinicians on staff who have received such specialized training. Please feel free to view our staff biography pages for more information. If you or someone you know would benefit from Dialectical Behavior Therapy, please reach out to us at (847) 412-0922.