Dialectical Behavior Therapy was developed to treat people with severe psychological disorders who did not respond to other forms of treatment. Because many individuals with these types of mental illnesses are also prone to substance abuse disorder, the methods used in this type of therapy are useful for treating addiction.
What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?
This type of therapy, sometimes referred to as DBT, involves bringing together two seemingly opposing goals. The main assumption is that change and acceptance can occur at the same time.
Simply trying to promote change can bring about a variety of strong negative reactions, including defensiveness, overwhelming emotions, and intense anger. Encouraging acceptance without change is equally unproductive because individuals may feel as though they’re forced to tolerate distressing situations or the therapist is minimizing their feelings.
By incorporating a dialectic that fuses change and acceptance, DBT allows patients to work on one problem at a time. It also provides an environment that promotes engagement and retention.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy Is A Comprehensive Option
When you’re dealing with substance abuse, getting clean is just one step toward permanent recovery. Every aspect of your life may be tangled up in the addiction. Learning to avoid using drugs involves bringing awareness, empowerment, and fulfillment to every facet of your existence.
The goal of Dialectical Behavior Therapy is to build and sustain a life that’s worth living. This involves more than reducing problematic behaviors and managing symptoms. DBT encompasses five important functions, including the following:
- Enhancing motivation for change
- Teaching coping skills
- Assimilating new behaviors within the patient’s environment
- Creating structure within the treatment environment
- Maintaining therapist motivation
During this kind of therapy, individuals will learn skills that help them understand their strengths and barriers and replace damaging behaviors with healthy ones. The patient and therapist will work together to set clear guidelines and expectations.
Why Dialectical Behavior Therapy Works For Substance Abuse
The most important behaviors to work on during therapy are those that present the most danger. From there, therapists work with their clients to address actions that impede the therapeutic process and impair quality of life.
For people who struggle with drug abuse, strategies typically begin with decreasing or stopping the use of substances. Therapists will help patients manage withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. However, they’ll also concentrate on breaking the connections between the patient and his or her triggers for substance abuse. Finally, DBT places importance on fostering the development of healthy relationships and behaviors that support abstinence.
As patients focus on immediately ceasing to use drugs, which involves change, they’ll learn that relapse may occur, which requires acceptance. Relapse doesn’t mean that treatment is a failed endeavor. Therapists will work with patients to cultivate non-judgmental responses to relapse that involve using problem-solving skills and reducing the impact of negative consequences.
With this type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, therapists focus on moving their patients toward their objective even if there are setbacks. You have to take things one day at a time; setting achievable goals and renewing them as necessary is an integral part of this type of plan.
As you achieve and sustain abstinence, you may vacillate between what experts call the “addict mind” and the “clean mind.” As you fluctuate between a mental state that revolves around drugs and one in which you’re sober but feel protected from future issues, you’ll nurture the “clear mind.” When you’re in this psychological and behavioral position, you should be able to enjoy sobriety while being vigilant of the circumstances that can reroute you into the addict mindset.
DBT at Gateway Foundation Joliet
At Gateway Foundation Joliet, we use Dialectical Behavior Therapy as part of our Outpatient program to give patients the individualized attention that they need to sustain successful recovery. Some of our methodologies include the following:
- Intensive Outpatient program
- Group counseling
- Family therapy
- Treatment for co-occurring disorders
- Relapse prevention, education, and support
- Recovery Community
If you’re ready to rebuild your life and focus on balance, wellness and strong relationships with yourself and others, Dialectical Behavior Therapy may be for you. Contact Gateway Foundation Joliet at 815.206.8477 for more information.