Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed in the 1970s by Dr. Marsha Linehan. DBT is based on the principle of “dialectics”, the concept that two opposite things can both be true at the same time. The DBT therapist validates the client’s need for acceptance, as well as acknowledging the need for change. DBT is the recommended form of treatment for individuals who engage in self-harming behavior, engage in chronic suicidal behavior, have difficulty regulating emotions and engaging in interpersonal relationships.
Several therapists at Inner Clarity have completed certificate courses in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. The full course of DBT treatment is comprised of weekly DBT sessions, weekly skills group, as well as phone coaching. Please contact us to obtain updated information on the types of DBT groups we currently offer. Those with more severe self-harming behavior, or depressive symptoms may need to be referred to a more intensive DBT program. DBT individual sessions are 60 minutes in length. During the individual sessions, clients review their diary cards from the previous week, review skill handouts, and a behavior chain analysis is reviewed/completed if there is an episode of self-harming behavior in between sessions.
Many of those who benefit from DBT also have a history of trauma. Experiencing trauma can often bring unwelcomed emotion. These emotions can present themselves in a variety of ways, often unhealthy. The traumatic experience, their developmental level, and the cultural or family environment influence how a child or adolescent process and respond to trauma. It is common to notice behavioral changes or signs of distress after the trauma event. Often, these changes are ways the person finds to cope with what happened to them. When children and adolescents use unhealthy coping mechanisms, parents may find it harder to support them.
How DBT helps with trauma
In DBT, a client will learn how to manage painful emotions and understand their feelings. DBT also helps clients to gain a better understanding of how to tolerate unwanted feelings. Once these skills are learned, the person can deal with the trauma without using unwanted coping skills and behaviors.
DBT teaches Mindfulness skills to integrate logic with emotions and how to be present in the moment. Through Distress Tolerance and Emotion Regulation, clients learn how to tolerate distress without worsening the situation, and to tolerate their unfamiliar feelings. DBT also teaches Interpersonal Effectiveness to assist clients with effectively communicating their wants and needs, improving their relationships and self-respect.
Experiencing a traumatic event can have a deep impact on a child’s life. Finding ways to cope and deal with the trauma is important to recover and live a healthier life.
Another type of treatment that is beneficial to those who have experienced trauma is EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Check out more information about EMDR here.