While Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed primarily for treating Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), it has also been found to be an effective treatment for other psychiatric disorders, such as depression.
A 2002 study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that 71 percent of study participants who received Dialectical Behavior Therapy for depression reported to be free of their depression symptoms by the end of the study.
Researchers chose two of the five modalities normally used in Dialectical Behavior Therapy to treat depression: DBT skills group and crisis coaching. Their goal was to teach study participants new skills to help manage their negative emotions and life problems, especially in times of crisis. These skills can be especially useful when dealing with the negative emotions you typically experience when depressed.
Depression Symptoms DBT Treats
Dialectical Behavior Therapy has proven to be effective for treating many of the symptoms of depression, including the following:
- Difficulty concentrating, thinking, or remembering
- Persistent sadness or irritation
- Lack of interest in once-pleasurable activities
- Recurring thoughts of suicide or death
- Headaches, chronic pain, or other physical problems that don’t respond to treatment
Dialectical Behavior Therapy Treatment
Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a very structured form of therapy based on a synthesis of self-acceptance and change. It incorporates techniques geared toward validation and tolerance, as well as techniques that will improve certain behaviors. The philosophy behind this treatment is that opposites may simply be two sides of the same coin based on how you look at them.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy was created by Marsha Linehan, a psychologist who initially developed the therapy while treating women who were suicidal and self-injurious.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), regular DBT treatments will help to:
- Improve motivation to change through positive reinforcement and modifying inhibitions
- Improve self-destructive behaviors
- Provide a mutually beneficial treatment environment for both the therapist and client
- Improve the therapist-client relationship by increasing the therapist’s motivation
The DBT treatment module focuses on:
- Regulating extreme emotions and decreasing resulting negative behaviors
- Helping clients trust their own thoughts, emotions, and experiences
The Dialectical Behavior Therapy treatment module employs DBT skills training in both individual and group settings, crisis intervention, and consultation for therapists and group leaders.
The DBT skills are designed to regulate behaviors and emotions. They are categorized into four areas:
- Improved skills to improve interpersonal effectiveness in conflict situations
- Increased ability to manage painful emotions
- Improved skills to help regulate emotional distress
- Improved mindfulness skills, which help you focus on the situation and deal with your emotions
DBT Therapy and Depression Treatment
The goal of Dialectical Behavior Therapy in treating depression, as well as other psychiatric disorders, is to teach skills that help you deal with day-to-day life. The group treatments are designed to help you resolve crises in more effective and functional ways.
Therapists trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy offer crisis intervention as a critical part of depression treatment. As you begin to incorporate these DBT skills more frequently, you’ll find that conflicts and crises are more manageable.
By learning tangible skills to help you effectively manage your emotions, deal with others, and manage crises, you may notice that your depression symptoms decrease, since these are issues that typically contribute to depression. If you are seeking depression treatment, be sure to find a treatment center for depression that offers Dialectical Behavior Therapy for a more effective recovery from your depression symptoms.