Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
The disease of addiction causes profound suffering to those individuals who develop a chemical dependency. Oftentimes beginning with experimental, recreational substance abuse, individuals continue to increase their dosage as they try to experience those earliest feelings of intoxication, which they’re unable to achieve due to a developing tolerance.
Meanwhile, individuals who are developing alcohol or drug addiction experience a decline in physical, psychological, emotional, social, and even spiritual health as a direct result of dependency. In other words, addiction has a negative effect on the body, mind, one’s relationships, and even one’s ability to feel fulfilled in life. By the time such individuals realize what’s happening, it’s often too late to simply cease consumption of mind-altering substances like alcohol and drug, leaving them with little choice other than to seek recovery through addiction treatment.
The addiction treatments that are available today, such as those we offer at Guardian Intensive Outpatient, are often based on the tenets of the most effective psychotherapeutic techniques and tend to treat the individual, specific symptoms and effects experienced as a result of addiction to alcohol and drugs. More specifically, counseling for addiction recovery often incorporates cognitive behavioral therapy—arguably the most common form of psychotherapy used today—as the dominant contextual guide for an individual’s rehabilitation, but there are other modalities that can be used in addiction treatment and especially for counseling, such as dialectical behavior therapy.
An Overview of Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy can be best understood as an enhancement and a natural progression of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is known as a goal-oriented and short-term form of psychotherapy that helps individuals to identify how their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and other cognitive processes can affect their behaviors in an effort to better understand how one’s emotions and experiences influence behavior.
As a next-level progression of these concepts, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) puts emphasis on the psychosocial components of treatment and was originally intended to treat borderline personality disorder when it was conceptualized in the 1980s. According to the tenets of dialectical behavior therapy, some individuals are especially prone to react in uncharacteristic or especially intense ways to certain emotional stimuli, especially situations that can sometimes occur in familial, friendly, or romantic relationships.
There tends to be a variability in the extent to which individuals react, become excited or aroused by certain situations, which results in some individuals responding to such scenarios by attaining a higher level of emotional intensity than others; in turn, it takes these individuals more time to return to a state of emotional equilibrium than others. Whereas cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on understanding how one’s thoughts and perceptions can influence feelings and behaviors, dialectical behavior therapy is useful in exploring the ways that individuals interact in certain environments, situations, relationships, and so on, as well as the underlying factors that guide those reactions.
Why Dialectical Behavior Therapy is Used in Intensive Outpatient Programs
Cognitive behavioral therapy—though also often used in a group setting—is most commonly employed for short-term, individual psychotherapy and counseling due to being a very introspective modality. In contrast, dialectical behavior therapy has a strong psychosocial component, which makes it especially useful in group settings, which is why DBT therapy tends to be commonly employed as a form of treatment in intensive outpatient programs for addiction. More specifically, there are four important components, or modules, of dialectical behavior group therapy, which are interpersonal effectiveness, developing a tolerance to stress while accepting reality, regulation of emotions, and learning mindfulness skills. Used for the treatment of addiction and substance abuse, dialectical behavior therapy affords the means of achieving what seem to be two conflicting goals: supporting and validating individuals for who they innately are while also challenging them to make beneficial changes and self-improvements.
How Guardian Intensive Outpatient Utilizes Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Counseling and psychotherapy comprise what is arguably the most important component of any alcohol and drug addiction recovery program, affording individuals with the means of understanding conscious and unconscious processes while instilling the capacity, motivation, and ability to overcome chemical dependency.
At Guardian Intensive Outpatient, we incorporate state-of-the-art techniques like dialectical behavior therapy in order to help individuals to overcome harmful patterns of thought and behaviors that result in self-harm, substance abuse, and many other forms of self-destruction. In principle, our dialectical behavioral therapy operates on the assumption that each participant of our treatment programs is doing the best that he or she can while lacking the skills or being reinforced in a way that prevents progress and optimal functioning.
Inspired by Buddhist meditation and mindfulness, dialectical behavior therapy has been incorporated into Guardian Intensive Outpatient addiction treatment because evidence has shown it helps individuals learn to regulate their emotions and how to effectively utilize coping skills to promote lasting sobriety.
Take the First Step Toward Freedom from Addiction & Contact Guardian IOP Today
At Guardian Intensive Outpatient Program, we know that there’s no single treatment that can cure addiction, which is why we offer only evidence-based, high-quality treatments with proven effectiveness for the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction. If you or someone you love is suffering from chemical dependency and would like to learn more about the psychotherapeutic techniques used in our programming, please give Guardian IOP a call and let the recovery journey begin today.