Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) At Ohio Recovery Center

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on July 26, 2023

DBT helps people make positive changes in life by developing self-awareness and emotional resilience. This includes recognizing how thoughts affect behavior and how behavior affects all areas of life. DBT is offered in individual and group settings at ORC.

Ohio Recovery Center offers a range of evidence-based treatments for mental health and substance use disorders, one of which is dialectical behavior therapy. 

DBT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that was developed by Marsha Linehan for the treatment of borderline personality disorder (BPD). 

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Today, DBT is used to treat many mental health conditions and issues, including:

DBT helps people change negative behaviors by teaching them healthier ways to relate to themselves, others, and the world around them.

Overview Of Dialectical Behavior Therapy 

DBT focuses on emotions and emotion regulation. You’ll learn coping skills that help you deal with negative emotions and develop positive thought patterns. There are four functions of DBT related to recovery.

1. Enhancing Capabilities

DBT emphasizes mindfulness skills—the ability to pay attention to the present moment, be aware of your surroundings, and be intentional in how you relate to people. 

Many people with mental health disorders feel guilty about the past or worry about the future. These stressful thoughts keep you from living in the present and connecting with others. 

With DBT, a mental health professional will work with you to improve your:

  • emotional regulation skills: keeping your emotional response appropriate to the situation and balanced (without dramatic highs and lows)
  • interpersonal effectiveness: communicating and creating relationships with other people
  • distress tolerance skills: developing healthy ways of dealing with stress and difficult situations, such as deep breathing and meditation

2. Generalizing Capabilities

Learning the above skills is important, but putting them into practice is another thing. In dialectical behavior therapy, you apply to everyday life what you learn. As you develop new skills and improve existing ones, you’ll have guidance from your therapist. 

DBT work may include “homework” assignments, like practicing self-respect and self-soothing when you feel like self-harming. 

Your therapist will regularly check in to make sure that these skills are working for you and helping you make healthier choices.

3. Improving Motivation & Reducing Dysfunctional Behaviors

DBT motivates you to change by helping and encouraging you to pay attention to how your behavior affects your life. It teaches you how to reduce unwanted behaviors that prevent you from living a fulfilling life.

With DBT, you learn how to reduce dysfunctional behaviors by:

  • paying attention to how you act
  • recognizing self-destructive behaviors
  • thinking about why you did something
  • noticing how your actions affect other areas of your life
  • practicing different ways of problem-solving
  • staying mindful and regulating your emotional responses

4. Structuring The Environment

The environment you live in has a profound effect on your emotions and behaviors. Part of DBT includes restructuring your surroundings so that you can experience a more positive state of mind.

This environment will be provided for you during your stay at ORC, but your therapist will also discuss how you can create a more peaceful environment when you return home.

This may mean decluttering your home, breaking ties with people who trigger negative actions, and surrounding yourself with supportive people. 

DBT Techniques

Dialectical behavior therapy uses the techniques of emotional regulation, dialectical thinking, and acceptance to help people recover. DBT can take place in individual therapy and group therapy settings.

Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation is controlling your emotions rather than letting them control you. Recognizing, understanding, and labeling your emotions can help you keep them in check. In DBT, your therapist responds to your emotional reactions and guides you to a healthier emotional response.

Controlling your emotions is essential to controlling your behavior, which affects your relationships with others. When you’re able to stay calm rather than having a quick temper or being easily driven to tears, you’ll get a more positive response from others and build healthier relationships.

Dialectical Thinking

Dialectical thinking refers to striking a balance between seemingly opposing thoughts or beliefs. For example, people in recovery want to be accepted for who they are, as they are, but also recognize the need to change. 

In this example, your therapist will help you see that you don’t have to change who you are in order to find recovery, while also helping you identify and change unhelpful behaviors that are getting in the way of achieving what you want in life.

This also addresses black-and-white thinking, or all-or-nothing thinking, which can keep you stuck in negative patterns. Setbacks and disappointments are a normal part of everyone’s lives, and DBT can help you realize that you are able to make good choices even when things aren’t going “perfectly.”  

Acceptance & Mindfulness

Acceptance and mindfulness help you calmly take things as they come rather than reacting in a volatile way. Most people need practice with this, whether they have a mental health disorder or not.

The practice of acceptance and mindfulness teaches you to:

  • not resist or try to change the present
  • observe experiences without judgment
  • be fully present in the moment
  • do one thing at a time
  • focus on effective behavior

Your therapist helps with this by validating your experience, thoughts, and opinions, acknowledging your worth as a person who has gone through real struggles. Then they help you avoid the same struggles in the future by practicing mindfulness and other skills you’re learning in therapy.

Why Dialectical Behavior Therapy Works

Dialectical behavior therapy is an effective treatment because it targets and resolves the root of the substance use or mental health disorder. 

It does this by helping you:

  • change how you feel, act, and react
  • replace unwanted behaviors with healthy coping strategies
  • reduce triggers by altering thoughts and emotions
  • tolerate stress and distress
  • relate to others better
  • build life skills for a more meaningful life

DBT doesn’t rely on willpower or goals without a strategy, but instead provides practical tools to build your emotional strength, resiliency, and self-awareness.

Start Your Treatment Journey At Ohio Recovery Center Today

DBT is just one of the evidence-based approaches provided through our personalized treatment plans at Ohio Recovery Center. Call to speak with one of our specialists today to learn more.

  1. Psychiatry https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2963469/

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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