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Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a system of therapy that combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness largely derived from Buddhist meditative practice. Through DBT, the patient is taught to accept the presence of uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and calmly work through them, rather than resorting to self-destructive behaviors. Dialectical behavior therapy for addiction can be broken down into two main components:

Individual Therapy: In individual therapy sessions, the therapists and client work through any new or recurring issues. These issues are prioritized in the following way:

  • Self-injurious or life-threatening behaviors.
  • Any behaviors that interfere with the course of therapy.
  • Behaviors that interfere with general quality of life.

Group Therapy: Group therapy sessions cover four basic skill modules:

  • Core Mindfulness
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness
  • Emotion Regulation
  • Distress Tolerance

DBT has been found to be effective for many people with chemical dependency and co-occurring disorders. We work with both DBT and CBT to find the best therapy or combination of therapies for the individual patient.