Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with the extra component of not only teaching its patient to control their minds, it also helping them learn to regulate their emotions. It accomplishes this by helping patients accept their current struggles and find personal ways to cope with them without turning to substance abuse or other ultimately harmful techniques.
Because many trauma victims find temporary, instant relief for their hurts in substance abuse, they may initially resist traditional psychological therapy. Not only do they experience withdrawal from their substance of choice when they first come forward for treatment, but they are presented with a healing process which, though it will ultimately be more effective, takes much longer to produce noticeable results. This is why DBT is useful, because it helps patients recover and teaches them to survive without drug use.
How DBT Works
DBT helps trauma victims to look at the big picture of their lives and not just the part that is in pain. Drug addiction seems to offer escape from painful emotions, but it will end up devastating every area of a user’s life, exacerbating the trauma far beyond its original reach.
Through DBT patients can learn constructive ways of facing and conquering pain rather than pushing it down further with drugs and allowing it to fester. During DBT, patients learn to identify and conquer three kinds of attitudes and actions: those that harm themselves and others, those that stall therapeutic progress and those that keep them from maximum enjoyment of life.
As patients discover personal techniques for handling these parts of themselves and begin to move past them, their relationships improve and they have more hope for the future.
By learning to engage reality and face it with a clear perspective, patients can discover the strength to resist the urge to react fearfully, an action that is motivated by past traumas. Instead, these patients may handle their troubling situations with clear heads.
They learn to accept what happens and determine to change things for the better as far as it is in their power to do so. No one can conjure up this power without help; patients must be shown what a valuable creature they were created to be and how their inherent worth gives them the prerogative to face challenges for the sakes of themselves and those around them.