Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a great approach for many individuals in recovery. However, this approach may not be for everyone. Diving into the basics and philosophy of DBT can help you determine if this approach is right for you.

There are many benefits of DBT. This is also true for other therapeutic approaches in recovery. Some benefits may resonate with you more than others. Understanding DBT can give you a clear perspective of how you can best move forward.

What Is DBT?

DBT is a form of evidence-based treatment similar to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). There are four basic components of DBT that make this form of therapy unique from others.

These components are:

  • The five functions of treatment
  • Biosocial theory
  • Dialectical philosophy
  • Acceptance and mindfulness

Reviewing each of these components can help you to understand this therapeutic approach.

Five Functions of DBT Treatment

The first component that distinguishes DBT is its five-function model. These functions serve as goals to structure the therapy.

#1. Enhance Your Capabilities

The first of the five functions of DBT is the enhancement of your capabilities. This gives you an important foundation. After all, confidence is often built from past successes. To have more successes, you need to enhance your capabilities.

This can be done through practice. For example, you may practice your coping skills for recovery. You may work to improve your abilities to engage in adulthood responsibilities. Any area of your life can be improved by enhancing your capabilities.

As you move through your recovery journey and utilize DBT, working to consistently enhance what you are capable of is a key function in your success. This can be accomplished through group work and individual therapy sessions.

#2. Generalize Your Capabilities

The second function is to generalize your capabilities. This allows you to transfer the capabilities and techniques you gain into all areas of your life.

#3. Limit Dysfunction

The third function is to lower your dysfunctional behaviors. This requires you to look at the current behaviors and habits that you have that are problematic to your long-term recovery. Work to maintain motivation to overcome these aspects and establish a healthy routine for yourself.

#4. Improve Your Motivation

The fourth function is to enhance and maintain therapeutic motivation. To do this, you can work with your therapist and treatment team. Together, you can create a plan that is rewarding and motivating to you to continue moving forward.

#5. Structure Your Environment

The fifth and final function of DBT is to structure your environment. Ensuring that your surrounding environment is positively impacting your recovery is important.

We tend to absorb a lot of energy from our surroundings. Setting yourself up in an environment that is encouraging and supportive of your recovery can be extremely rewarding.

The Biosocial Theory of Emotional Response

DBT has a strong focus on your emotional responses. The biosocial theory focuses on the predetermined emotional responses that you may have genetically acquired.

By addressing these natural emotional responses, you can work with your therapist to understand why you react the way you do. Armed with this understanding, you can alter your responses and practice more healthy ones.

Rather than avoiding moments of high emotions, DBT addresses them head-on. It asks you to gain an understanding of the reasonings behind them. Developing emotional regulation skills is a large focus within this component of DBT.

Dialectical Philosophy at the Root of DBT

The dialectical philosophy is the core belief structure on which DBT is based. Understanding this philosophy is a great way to further your knowledge of this therapeutic method.

This philosophy is based on the idea that our current reality is filled with forces that oppose each other. These forces build a sense of tension within our environment. Any two opposing forces are not able to reach a state of balance without each other. Therefore, to move forward from your conflicts, you have to find a balance between these forces.

The importance of balance is commonly focused on in recovery. It is also a huge factor in DBT. Holistic practices can be utilized with this therapeutic approach to assist you in establishing a state of balance.

Acceptance and Mindfulness

To move forward from your state of addiction, you need to accept your current state. Working to gain self-awareness and being mindful of your current capabilities allows you to understand your needs moving forward.

This component of DBT heavily ties in with the first two functions of recovery. To enhance your capabilities and apply them to other situations, you have to have an understanding of what capabilities you are currently lacking. Mindfulness can help you achieve this self-knowledge.

DBT and Dream Recovery

All of the components within the framework of DBT can be applied here at Dream Recovery. Through group therapy or skill-based groups and individual therapy, you can work to achieve your goals within each of these areas.

The key benefits of engaging in DBT are an increased level of self-awareness, ability to regulate your emotions, and improvement in interpersonal communication skills. These will each develop at different rates for each client using DBT. Regardless of how quickly they are developed, they are each a core focus of DBT.

If you feel that DBT would be a good fit for your recovery needs, ask your treatment team about the options available to you today.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a great therapeutic approach for individuals with substance use disorder (SUD). If you find that you are managing a co-occurring disorder, this approach might be even more helpful. By diving into the basic structure of DBT, you can analyze the benefits involved and see if this approach resonates with your needs and beliefs in recovery. Review each of the four main components to further your knowledge. If the basic structure of DBT seems beneficial to you, you can discuss the potential options with your treatment team and set up a plan specified to you and your recovery. To learn more about DBT, reach out to Dream Recovery today at (657) 216-7218.

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