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Dialectical Behavior Therapy

The first step to recovery

drug and alcohol detox | gratitude lodge

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of psychotherapy that utilizes talk therapy techniques. DBT psychotherapy builds upon the foundations of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) but is specifically tailored to address individuals who grapple with intense emotional experiences. 

Marsha Linehan, an esteemed American psychologist, pioneered the development of dialectical behavior therapy in the 1970s. Since then, DBT therapy has gained widespread recognition and is now employed to treat a diverse range of conditions. 

In this guide, you will learn: 

  • What is dialectical behavior therapy DBT?
  • Who is DBT therapy for?
  • How can you connect with DBT mental health therapy near you?


What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy Used For?

Dialectical behavior therapy is a highly effective approach for individuals who struggle with emotional regulation and managing their emotions in healthy ways. 

DBT has demonstrated significant success in treating a diverse range of mental health conditions, including BPD (borderline personality disorder), self-harm behaviors, suicidal tendencies, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), substance use disorders (addictions), binge eating disorder, bulimia, depression, and anxiety. 

What sets DBT apart is its emphasis on addressing the underlying issues associated with these conditions, which often stem from maladaptive attempts to control intense emotions. DBT helps individuals learn alternative and healthier coping mechanisms to manage their emotions, allowing them to lead more fulfilling lives and reduce problematic behaviors.

Determining the appropriate level of therapy is crucial and seeking an evaluation from a treatment professional can help individuals gauge their specific needs based on the severity of their substance use. This evaluation assists in deciding whether inpatient or outpatient rehab is the best fit for addiction relief, as both options offer distinct treatment modalities and therapies. 

Outpatient therapy provides treatment and clinical services on-site, allowing patients to return home after each session. Inpatient rehab, by contrast, involves staying on-site 24 hours a day until the completion of the program. The good news is that addiction therapies are beneficial for both outpatient and inpatient patients, ensuring that individuals receive the necessary support and tools for their recovery journey.

Read on to learn more about the most common types of addiction therapy.

drug and alcohol detox | gratitude lodge

Dialectical Behavior Therapy FAQs

Here are some important ways in which therapy for addiction treatment in the form of drug abuse treatment or alcoholism treatment helps:

The main difference between CBT and DBT is that while CBT focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors, DBT incorporates elements of mindfulness and acceptance alongside cognitive and behavioral strategies.

Emotional regulation in DBT refers to the ability to manage and modulate emotions effectively. It involves learning skills to identify and understand emotions, tolerate distress, and respond to emotional experiences in healthy and adaptive ways.

The six main points of DBT include acceptance and change, behavioral modification, cognitive restructuring, skill development, collaboration, and support. These points encompass accepting circumstances, addressing problematic behaviors, modifying thoughts, acquiring skills, fostering collaboration, and having a reliable support system throughout the recovery journey.

The four core modules of DBT are mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. These modules provide a comprehensive set of skills for individuals to develop and apply in their daily lives.

The five targets of DBT are behaviors, emotions, thoughts, interpersonal effectiveness, and the therapeutic relationship. These targets are addressed through the various modules and strategies in DBT counseling.

The four miss rule in DBT states that a client must miss no more than four sessions over the course of a year for therapy to continue, as consistency and regularity in therapy are vital for maintaining progress and building a strong therapeutic relationship.

The three primary states of mind in DBT are reasonable mind, emotional mind, and wise mind. Reasonable mind refers to a logical and analytical state, emotional mind involves being driven by intense emotions, and wise mind is a balanced state combining both reason and emotion to make effective decisions.

What are The Benefits of DBT?

DBT offers several benefits for individuals seeking therapeutic support and personal growth:

DBT equips individuals with practical skills to identify, understand, and manage their emotions effectively. By learning healthy coping mechanisms, individuals can navigate emotional challenges with greater resilience and stability.

DBT focuses on enhancing interpersonal effectiveness, providing individuals with the tools to establish and maintain healthier relationships. Skills such as effective communication, assertiveness, and boundary-setting contribute to more fulfilling and harmonious connections with others.

DBT emphasizes distress tolerance skills, empowering individuals to navigate difficult situations and crises with greater resilience. By developing effective strategies to manage distress, such as grounding techniques and self-soothing exercises, individuals can reduce impulsive behaviors and make more mindful choices.

DBT incorporates cognitive restructuring techniques to challenge and modify unhelpful thought patterns. Through examining and reframing negative beliefs, individuals can develop more balanced and adaptive thinking, leading to improved emotional well-being.

DBT integrates mindfulness practices, cultivating a state of present-moment awareness and non-judgmental acceptance. This helps individuals develop self-awareness, allowing them to observe their thoughts, emotions, and experiences without being overwhelmed by them. Mindfulness supports greater self-regulation and empowers individuals to make conscious choices aligned with their values.

DBT offers a comprehensive and holistic approach to personal growth and emotional well-being, providing individuals with valuable skills and strategies to navigate life’s challenges more effectively.

What Does DBT Treat?

DBT is a versatile treatment approach that has been proven effective in addressing a wide range of mental health conditions. Some of the conditions that DBT can treat include:

Bipolar Disorder

DBT was originally developed to treat individuals with BPD, and it has shown significant success in reducing self-destructive behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and enhancing overall quality of life for individuals with this condition.

Mood Disorder

DBT can be beneficial for individuals with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. It provides tools for emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and cognitive restructuring, helping individuals develop more adaptive ways of coping with and managing their symptoms.

Self-Harm & Suicidal Behavior

DBT has demonstrated effectiveness in helping individuals who engage in self-harm or have a history of suicidal thoughts or attempts. It provides essential skills to manage emotional distress, enhance coping mechanisms, and reduce self-destructive behaviors.

Substance Use Disorders

DBT has been adapted for treating individuals struggling with substance abuse or addiction. It addresses the underlying emotional and cognitive factors that contribute to substance use, while also providing strategies for managing cravings, regulating emotions, and developing a more balanced lifestyle.

Eating Disorders

DBT has been utilized as part of the treatment approach for certain eating disorders, particularly binge eating disorder and bulimia. It helps individuals develop healthier coping strategies for managing emotions, addressing body image concerns, and improving self-esteem.


DBT can be used as an adjunct treatment for individuals with PTSD. It assists in managing intense emotions, developing effective coping skills for trauma-related triggers, and promoting overall emotional well-being.

Get Treatment for Mood Disorders at Gratitude Lodge

Gratitude Lodge in Southern California provides specialized treatment for individuals struggling with mood disorders. Our rehab centers in Newport Beach and Long Beach offer comprehensive programs designed to address mood disorders and facilitate lasting recovery. 

Our dedicated team of professionals understands the complexities of mood disorders and the impact they can have on your life. We offer a range of evidence-based interventions tailored to your individual needs, ensuring effective treatment for conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and more. 

At Gratitude Lodge, we provide a supportive and therapeutic environment to help you overcome mood disorders. Our programs include a combination of therapy approaches, including medication management, DBT, CBT, and other evidence-based modalities. 

We believe in a holistic approach to mood disorder treatment, addressing not only the symptoms but also the underlying causes and contributing factors. Our programs may incorporate mindfulness practices, stress reduction techniques, lifestyle modifications, and healthy coping strategies to enhance your overall well-being. 

Additionally, our treatment programs prioritize aftercare and relapse prevention. We offer ongoing therapy, support groups, and resources to help you maintain your progress and successfully transition back into your daily life with the tools and strategies you need to manage your mood disorder effectively. 

If you or a loved one is ready to seek comprehensive treatment for a mood disorder, we encourage you to contact Gratitude Lodge at 800-994-2184. Our compassionate admissions counselors are available to provide guidance and support as you take the first step toward achieving lasting recovery and improved emotional well-being.

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