Dealing with Life’s Problems Skillfully
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed by Marsha Linehan. It was originally designed to treat people who didn’t respond to traditional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and who also struggled with chronic self-harm and suicidality.
Since the 1990s, DBT has proven effective not only with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) but a wide array of issues. It has proven effective with anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, and depressive disorders, to name a few. DBT, in fact, is generally useful for individual problems that we all experience in working to cope with everyday life.
DBT is Flexible and Adaptable, Practical and Doable
One of the most appealing parts of DBT is its flexibility and adaptability. The treatment can be used in a strict protocol for highly structured therapy, including skills training. It can also be used in its component parts, as appropriate.
DBT skills training has many advantages in therapy and for the general population. It includes a curriculum that uses a series of practical, doable, and concrete coping skills. These skills, once learned, are immediately applicable to everyday life.
Group Skills Training: Comprehensive and Effective
The protocol of structured DBT-based therapy plus group training is very effective. This comprehensive treatment addresses the most difficult issues by utilizing the full DBT protocol. The MSAM DBT group trains you in the skills needed to change unhelpful behaviors, which significantly enhances the effectiveness of therapy. DBT modules can be shaped to effectively address unique individual needs.
DBT group skills training is designed to teach the skills needed to effectively negotiate one’s life. The group is highly structured and focused on teaching, learning, and applying skills to everyday life. Furthermore, there is not much personal information or discussion in group training, beyond general questions like, “How can we use and apply these skills in our life?”
DBT: Useful for the Full Range of Life Problems
DBT skills development focuses on four units:
- Core mindfulness skills
- Interpersonal effectiveness skills
- Emotion regulation skills
- Reality acceptance skills (distress tolerance)
Mindfulness is the core of DBT. It trains us to be present and mindful of what we are doing, feeling, and thinking. Mindfulness enhances our ability to see unhelpful patterns and make beneficial changes.
Interpersonal effectiveness skills help us to become more effective in our interpersonal engagments, reducing the strain or suffering brought on by these interactions.
Emotion regulation skills help people interact with their emotions more skillfully. You learn to become less stuck in thinking, feeling, and experiencing when it is not helpful or not factual.
Reality acceptance skills help people cope better with painful occurrences in their life that they cannot change. The truth is, every single person over the course of their life will experience painful events or circumstances that they have little or no control over.
Together, these skills teach us how to endure pain more skillfully and learn to suffer less. Learning to deal skillfully with what we can not change is one of the most challenging, yet most empowering, skill sets a person can learn in life.
Skills Training Designed to Address Real Life Experience
The principles of DBT come from Marsha Linehan’s own struggles with mental health. In a New York Times article from 2011, she described how her own treatment and recovery inspired the development of DBT. For many, the groundedness and practicality of DBT are legitimated by its origins in a sufferer’s own life.