Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a mental health treatment model that was designed in the late 1980s by Psychologist Marsha M. Linehan, as a means to more effectively treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It is an empirically based, highly practical, and structured therapy that is founded on the principals of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and rooted in mindfulness practices based on Zen Buddhist teachings. Since its inception, dialectical behavior therapy has been and remains the gold standard method of treatment for individuals diagnosed with BPD and its efficacy has expanded to a wide range of other mental health disorders. Nevertheless, there are both advantages and disadvantages of DBT, such as:
- Pros of DBT: According to Behavioral Tech, DBT is effective because it “assumes that many of the problems exhibited by clients are caused by skills deficits, [and] it successfully increases clients’ ability to use effective coping skills, particularly strategies for expressing, experiencing, and regulating intense emotions.” Some of the advantages of DBT include, but are not limited to the following:
- Significantly reduces hospital stays, self-injurious behaviors, and the severity of BPD symptoms.
- Increases self-worth and self-respect.
- Improves in emotion regulation.
- Reduces experiential avoidance.
- Minimizes assertive anger.
- DBT incorporates Zen Buddhist mindfulness practices, which may be appealing to those that wish to work toward spiritual fulfillment.
- As an added layer of support, participants have twenty-four-hour access to their clinician through the phone coaching component, should crisis arise or for in the moment guidance during times of struggle.
- The weekly DBT skills training group therapy sessions offer participants an emotionally safe environment to begin to implement the DBT skills alongside other people working on similar issues.
- As an evidence-based treatment, DBT extends beyond mental health illness and enhances individuals’ quality of life.
- Cons of DBT: While DBT can prove to be highly effective for some individuals, it may be ineffective for others. Consider some of the disadvantages of DBT listed below:
- The foundation of DBT is rooted in mindfulness practice based on Zen Buddhist teachings, therefore some clients (e.g., conservative Jews, Christians, Muslims, etc.) may object to certain facets of DBT that are derived from Eastern religious philosophies.
- Because there is no formal trauma processing in DBT, it may not be well suited for individuals in treatment for trauma-related issues.
- An integral part of the weekly DBT skills training group therapy sessions is assigning homework that corresponds to the DBT skills taught or visited during each session, which some may find burdensome.
- The many skills of DBT may be perceived as overwhelming and discouraging. As a result, some individuals that could benefit greatly from dialectical behavior therapy view it as overly complex to the point that they are unwilling to try the treatment.
- DBT requires a significant time commitment which may make it less appealing to some.
The American Psychological Association (APA) explains that DBT “establishes a ‘dialectic’ between helping individuals to accept the reality of their lives and their own behaviors on the one hand and helping them learn to change their lives, including dysfunctional behaviors, on the other.” Still, as is true with all mental health interventions, there are both positives and drawbacks to DBT.
Treatment In Calabasas
Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options.
The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.