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Dialectical Behavior Therapy - What it is and how it's used
by Ask a Healer
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DBT, which is short for dialectical behavior therapy, is a form of therapy that is used to treat mental health conditions including BPD, TBI, abuse issues, chemical dependencies and mood disorders. DBT was developed by Marsha Linehan (who suffered from BPD herself) and it is a therapy that combines cognitive behavioral techniques with reality testing. I like that DBT includes the meditative practice of mindfulness. I also like the concept of the "teflon mind", that mind where nothing sticks.
Letting thoughts flow like water has been a practice of mine for a while. As Tom Petty sang in one of his songs "most things that I worry about, never happen anyway". So not allowing painful, fearful or negative thoughts to stick but just to slide off the mind (hence the clever teflon mind analogy, feels valid. When I grab hold of a thought or feeling, I run the risk of becoming obsessive about fears or doubts and making them bigger than they need to be in my reality.
Of course conditions like Borderline Personality Disorder (BPT) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are very serious conditions and can be life-threatening so choosing the best therapy or set of psychosocial therapies for your personal path to recovery is very important. If considering Dialectical Behavior Therapy, please talk to your mental health professional about it, get your medical team involved.
DBT approaches therapy differently than the cognitive behavioral therapist in that those who work with dialectical behavior therapy are coached to release struggle against unpleasant feelings or thoughts and to be more accepting of where one is in the process of healing. The National Alliance for Mental Illness has honored the creator of DBT, Marsha Lineman, and from what I've read, they support the therapy.
If you have an interest in learning more. please visit Dr. Marsha Lineman's website on Dialectical Behavior Therapy. There is information there for those who want to learn about DBT and become certified as well as information for consumers wanting to know more about how it works and what to expect in a typical session of dialectical behavior therapy.
Mental Health Disclaimer: The information on dialectical behavior therapy is educational in nature and not meant to replace professional evaluation of your mental state or any needed medical attention. If you are suffering from mental health challenges, this is but one tool available. Please explore your options with qualified professionals and develop a path to healing that works for you.