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Dubious behaviors often develop as a way to cope with situations one may feel inadequate to handle otherwise. These behaviors offer a shortsighted solution that does not acknowledge long-term ramifications. Dialectical behavior therapy addresses these behaviors through psychotherapy and skills training. A group setting facilitates a safe environment for one to apply recently gained skills, such as mindfulness, social skills, and emotion management. Replacing destructive behaviors with constructive alternatives helps an individual to build a daily life worth living.
Dialectical behavioral therapy is categorized in four levels of treatment. Each level provides a treatment structure characterized by the severity of the patient’s condition. Therapists and patients determine personal goals for the treatment sessions and work within the applicable structure to achieve them. Each patient works at his or her own pace to maximize treatment potential.
• Stage 1
Feeling trapped in a life that’s out of control is excruciating. At this stage of treatment, individuals are often suffering from an agonizing personal darkness. Common behaviors of one who needs treatment in the first stage of this therapy are self-harm and suicide attempts. Those that feel hopeless and helpless frequently sabotage their treatment by neglecting to attend therapy sessions or mistreating their therapist.
Stage one aims attention at controlling destructive behavior and stabilizing an individual so that progress can be made in other methods of therapy; this begins with techniques for the daily management of emotions.
• Stage 2
After stabilization, stage two of dialectical behavioral therapy turns the focus to the individual’s feelings. Despite having one’s behavior under control, he or she may feel desperate and forlorn inside. Emotional walls, often due to trauma, keep the individual from feeling a full range of emotions.
This level of therapy allows painful psychological disorders, such as PTSD to be treated as one practices the skills obtained in stage one. As treatment progresses, motivation and commitment to the treatment process are often increased and for many, it becomes evident that the life they wanted free of drugs and alcohol is within their reach.
• Stage 3
Once behavioral health is stabilized and mental health is improved, stage three of dialectical behavioral therapy shifts treatment to the shaping of a daily life in which the patient can experience a full range of happy and unhappy feelings, with newfound skills for personal emotion management in place for when they are needed.
During treatment in stage three, patients are able to create a clear path to a life that he or she deems worth living. Developing love and respect for one’s self, planning to reach achievements through a series of attainable goals, and finding the things life has to offer that creates regular warm feelings of peace and happiness are the objectives here, which prepare our patients for healthy participation in life and the world around them.
• Stage 4
Occasionally individuals who participate in dialectical behavioral therapy find authentic happiness within their lives at stage three. Treatment in stage four gives therapists an opportunity to help patients continue working on the skills they’ve gained and expand their capacity to experience freedom, love and joy.
Many times, spiritual fulfillment is the key to an ongoing feeling of content. In stage four, our therapists are prepared to help patients explore a deeper meaning in life through a strengthening of the spirit. Serving the community or other charitable causes, as well as invigorating one’s relationship with a higher power can create a profound spiritual connection to the world around us. Stage four helps one reconnect with the outside world to discover a sense of completeness in the healing journey.
The overall objective of dialectical behavior therapy is to help the patient rebuild a life that is worth living every day. This is accomplished through four smaller goals designed to target specific functions.
Our participants meet with a group on a weekly basis to learn skills that will enhance their emotional management skills. Mindfulness, working through difficult situations without changing them, advocating for self in a healthy and productive manner, and personal regulation of emotions are skills that are learned during this part of therapy.
While learning these important skills, the patient also participates in individual therapy to enhance his or her motivation for healing. Patients are afforded weekly feedback from an objective party in their applications of new skills in their daily lives.
Between weekly face-to-face sessions, immediate feedback is also available over the phone, or other modes of communication to hone new coping skills at the moment. Our therapists are available whenever possible to guide our patients at the times when they need it most.
When the patient is ready, the therapist will transition control of his or case to the patient, only intervening when required, to influence therapeutic efforts in the right direction. This provides the opportunity for the patient to take a more active role in managing overall healing.
Dialectical behavioral therapy approaches addiction and behavior differently than other treatments. It targets the effects of addiction and mental health has on one another.
This form of therapy does not condemn a patient for the concerns that lead them to substance abuse treatment. Instead, it operates on the understanding that the patient is doing the best he or she can with the symptoms of the disorder.
Programs are organized to address the most severe concerns first to stabilize the health and well-being of the patient. As treatment progresses, the patient finds empowerment in the knowledge being gained and the skills learned. This contributes to a clean and clear mind, free from the cloudiness of addiction.
This treatment encourages patients to accept who they are and set goals to achieve their happiness. These valuable skills help the patient remain motivated to heal while learning and practicing mindfulness, healthy stress tolerance, and many more, making the happy life he or she has always wanted within reach.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and may benefit from dialectical behavioral therapy, give us a call today. Our therapists are skilled at tailoring individual programs to our patients’ individual needs for the best possible results.