The MHS Journals

Our blog archive of insights and intel


How DBT Can Help You and Your Family

Mar 25, 2019

Mental illness is not a light matter. It takes a toll on everyone involved. If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of mental illness, it’s important to explain them to your doctor. As mental illness becomes more understood, there are a lot of treatments available to help individuals carry on a normal, healthy life. One solution is dialectical behavior therapy, which is a specific version of cognitive behavioral therapy. The word “dialectical” comes into play because, during therapy, opposite forces such as acceptance and change are brought into balance.

How Does It Work?

During DBT, patients are reassured through acceptance of their experience. They are also taught how to work on changing negative behaviors. Many patients who need this type of therapy simply don’t feel accurately accepted or in control of negative emotions. They may exhibit avoidance, depression, anxiety, suicidal behaviors, irregular emotions, anger control issues, eating disorders and non-suicidal self-injury.

When a patient begins therapy, they can expect to participate in a four-part system, though this may change from person to person. The four parts include:

  • Individual Therapy – The patient works one-on-one with a DBT therapist, who addresses all needs as related by the patient or observed by the professional. During these sessions, the therapist motivates the patient and helps them to apply daily skills.
  • Group Skills Training – A group skills training session gives patients an opportunity to be accountable to someone other than a family member or individual therapist. During these sessions, individuals are encouraged to share personal experiences and then to practice skills. They are given assignments to work on during the week.
  • Consultation – If required or suggested by the therapist, a consultation keeps healthcare providers in the know so they can continue to provide the best care for the patient.
  • Phone Coaching – Because emergencies arise and crises can happen without warning, phone coaching is available for patients between individual and group therapy sessions.

Who Is DBT For?

There’s a wide array of individuals who can be helped by DBT. Patients of all ages can participate in therapy appropriate for their age group. Programs serve patients dealing with:

  • Difficulty regulating emotions
  • Anxiety, panic disorder, depression, PTSD and other personality disorders
  • Out of control family relationships
  • Suicidal behaviors
  • Difficulty functioning during daily activities at work, home, school or other social settings
  • Non-suicidal self-injury
  • Overuse of mental health services, including hospitalization
  • Self-destructive behaviors

Studies show that even pre-adolescents can benefit from dialectical behavior therapy. It is effective across the board, benefiting all genders and ages. It is currently being used in over 25 countries with similar positive results for a wide variety of individuals. Programs at MHS include Early Adolescent for ages 12-14, Adolescents for ages 14-18, Horizons for the developmentally-disabled/mentally-ill, Adult, Integrated Dual Disorder and Individual therapy.

Receive Help Today

Patients dealing with mental illness do not have to suffer in silence. With so many options available to improve lives, individuals can receive the help they need to experience mindfulness, implement distress tolerance, regulate emotions, and allow interpersonal effectiveness.

To learn more about dialectical behavior therapy or to request an appointment with a therapist, contact MHS today. Better health is just within reach.