Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based therapy treatment that has been helpful to treat patients that have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse.
Originally DBT started off as a way to treat borderline personality disorder. The effects worked so well that the treatment was extended to patients with other disorders that needed to learn life skills for pain management involving ways to handle emotional distress and maintain interpersonal relationships.
The four stages of dialectical behavior therapy are used specifically to provide different levels of therapeutic skills to give relief for the disorder. Depending on the severity of the patient’s condition, each stage must be completed to move onto the next with no precise time frame in mind.
By accepting the symptoms of their disorder, a patient can move forward with therapy instead of using self-destructive behaviors to deflect the painful trauma or stress that they have endured in their lifetime. Learning behavioral control is the first thing that needs to be accomplished in this stage so that the patient can be instructed on how to stop hurting themselves.
During this stage, their dangerous behavior is under control, but they continue to suffer on the inside due to what happened in their past. The goal is to be able to express the emotions that they feel by learning how to experience and process them in a healthier manner.
The patient feels that they are unworthy of happiness, love, or respect and they dismiss what their true needs are. Learning how to live a life full of positive purpose is the challenge for this stage. Happiness, love, and self-respect will come full circle with the appropriate work.
Using a spiritual connection to a Higher Power can make the experience a more fulfilling one to make the effects lasting. Not all patients will exercise this fourth stage. If they do, their process will include a joy and freedom that they will want to utilize for continual development.
DBT is consisted of individual therapy and group therapy, although the result can be achieved without one or the other. The point of DBT therapy is to motivate patients to continue with their course of action to replace old behaviors with ones that are effective behaviors to steadily enhance their life.