Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a skills-based treatment that can help you better regulate your emotions, have more successful interpersonal relationships, increase your distress tolerance, and be more mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and environment.

Though it was designed to treat Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), DBT has been found to be very effective when it comes to treating substance abuse and a variety of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

Because of this effectiveness, DBT is used extensively throughout all levels of care at Clearview Treatment Programs. In fact, Clearview is one of the few treatment programs nationwide to use DBT the way it was in intended in its residential, day, and outpatient treatment programs.

How Does DBT Work?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an evidence-based treatment that combines elements of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with the Zen Buddhist method of meditation and self-awareness. Through individual DBT sessions and DBT skills groups, you will learn how to incorporate DBT skills into your everyday life.

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When you participate in a DBT treatment program, you’ll progress through the following four stages:

  • Stage 1 lays the foundation for your journey to recovery by helping you gain control over life-threatening behaviors, behaviors that interfere with you getting treatment, and behaviors that interfere with your daily life.
  • Stage 2 is all about showing you how to express what you are feeling in a healthy way. Your therapist will help you identify, experience, and better express your emotions.
  • Stage 3 focuses on problem-solving. This stage will increase your ability to tackle issues that arise in everyday life in a more positive way.
  • Stage 4 brings all the lessons and skills of the preceding stages together to help you connect with the outside world.

What Is the Evidence Behind DBT?

Marsha Linehan, PhD, originally developed Dialectical Behavior Therapy to help female patients whose suicidal tendencies were not being addressed with traditional therapies. As some 75 percent of those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) attempt suicide at least once, this was an important and imperative development in the treatment of BPD.

In a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health, Dialectical Behavior Therapy showed twice the success rate of reducing suicide attempts among those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in comparison with other therapies, and more than cut in half trips to emergency rooms.

But it’s not just BPD that DBT has proven effective for. Studies have shown that DBT can significantly reduce anger, depression, self-harm, disordered eating behaviors, and hopelessness. When used to treat substance abuse, DBT can decrease urges to use, cravings, and physical discomfort from abstaining.

In addition to helping treat a variety of disorders, Dialectical Behavior Therapy can teach you healthier coping skills that will help you maintain your recovery and improve your quality of life.

DBT at Clearview Treatment Programs

Clearview Treatment Programs provides comprehensive DBT throughout all levels of care and is the only program on the West Coast to do so. At our residential, day, and outpatient treatment programs, you will participate in individual therapy sessions with a trained DBT therapist, as well as regular DBT skills groups, where you will learn and practice the DBT skills.

Comprehensive DBT also means that you will have access to phone coaching with a therapist between sessions so that you always feel supported and connected. As part of comprehensive DBT, the DBT team has a weekly consultation meeting to help ensure that they are providing you the best treatment possible.

All of our DBT therapists have extensive training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy by organizations that specialize in DBT, including Linehan’s own training institute, Behavioral Tech. The Clearview team also meets regularly with our DBT consultant Charles Swenson, who helps keep our program on the cutting-edge of DBT developments and helps us continually improve our DBT therapy services.

The support of a DBT team aids in your ability to stay focused on the skills, your motivation to practice them, and your acceptance of being held accountable to progress forward in your treatment. In short, a DBT team helps you stay on track and provides stability and support in your journey toward recovery.

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