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Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Mindfulness

dialectical behavior therapy and mindfulness help a woman in addiction recovery

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is based on the well-known psychotherapeutic treatment, cognitive-behavioral therapy. Adding mindfulness practices makes DBT different from many other forms of therapy. To learn more about the benefits of our DBT therapy program, contact Woodland Recovery Center at 662.222.2989.

What Is DBT?

The key to understanding DBT is in the name of the therapy. The word “dialectical” refers to the balance of opposites, such as acceptance and growth. Dialectical behavior therapy is a type of talk therapy that focuses on helping people combine opposite ideas in order to better understand their thoughts and behaviors.

At first glance, the approach may seem contradictory. How can you accept you are good enough at this moment but also recognize the need to change? These two ideas do work together. In order to change, patients must first accept who they are, including any negative behaviors.

DBT helps patients reconcile these two opposite concepts through a four-module series that begins with mindfulness and includes emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance.

The American psychologist Marsha Linehan developed the practice in the 1970s, and it has remained an effective and popular approach among mental health professionals and their patients.

DBT has been proven effective for managing several mental health conditions, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance use disorder
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Self-harm
  • Eating disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Not every therapist is trained in DBT. Those who are will be happy to speak to you about their education, certifications, and experience in this specific modality.

How Do DBT and Mindfulness Connect?

Mindfulness is described as focusing on what is happening right now — not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Most of us perform the necessary daily tasks out of habit without thinking much about them. This isn’t a negative thing; the “auto-pilot” setting can be helpful and efficient in many ways.

However, automatic behaviors can be negative when they harm your mental or physical health. Mindfulness helps people pay attention to the thoughts, feelings, and impulses that are happening inside of them as well as what is happening outside of them.

Mindfulness is the first module in DBT and is used to help patients observe their thoughts, actions, and emotions free of self-judgment.

Studies have shown that mindfulness practices like meditation and yoga can:

  • Increase emotional regulation
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Improve memory
  • Improve cognitive skills
  • Improve physical health
  • Help people build better relationships

Research on DBT suggests it is especially effective for helping patients regulate their emotions. It is commonly included as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for depression, anxiety, and PTSD. In this way, DBT and mindfulness are a natural pair.

Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Mindfulness

DBT simultaneously encourages people to accept themselves or their situation as it currently is while promoting positive change. It is not necessary to take a deep dive into the past or to spend years in therapy in order to feel improvement.

Five of the most common benefits of DBT include:

  • Improved relationships
  • Better quality of life
  • Decreased suicidal thoughts and self-harm behaviors
  • Improved emotional regulation
  • Improved coping skills
  • Better self-esteem
  • Decreased anger
  • Decreased shame and guilt

Dialectical behavior therapy and mindfulness can help people improve their mental health overall and are valuable tools in most treatment plans.

Discover Dialectical Behavior Therapy  at Woodland Recovery Center

At Woodland Recovery Center, we understand that each person needs individualized treatment that specifically addresses their mental health needs. DBT can be highly effective for some people, especially those with co-occurring mental health disorders. Contact Woodland Recovery Center at 662.222.2989 to learn more about the benefits of DBT. You can also fill out our online contact form and let us get back to you.